Denis Villeneuve brilliantly takes up the challenge of “Dune”


Dune, famous science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, published in 1965, has since then given rise to many adaptation projects, in which many studios, writers and filmmakers have broken their teeth, and not the least (David Lynch , Alejandro Jodorowsky, Ridley Scott…).

It is now up to Denis Villeneuve to take up the challenge. Trained at the University of Quebec, late traveling companion of a genius of direct cinema, Pierre Perrault, in the company of whom he went to study musk oxen at the North Pole, himself produced in his early days by the esteemed Office national du film from Canada, the native of Trois-Rivières dreamed no less of Hollywood. Anyone can get lost.

Read also “Jodorowsky’s Dune”: a cinematographic utopia

After having proven himself on the international market, he ended up moving to the side of the empire in 2013. He distinguished himself there. Brilliant more particularly during his passage to science fiction, where his taste for the elegant restoration of great cinematographic myths worked wonders. It is not for nothing that the theme of survival and rebirth has been a constant feature of his work since its inception.

Sensitive and original appropriation

First contact, in 2016, then Blade Runner 2049, in 2017, testify in any case to a fruitful relationship of Villeneuve to the great pre-existing motifs and works (from the extraterrestrial invasion to the revolt of the androids, Contact, by Robert Zemeckis, at Blade Runner, of Ridley Scott), which he inclines to seize. The renewal of an old scheme is signaled for him by an always sensitive and original appropriation, a concern for visual inventiveness, an attention to the adequacy between form and content.

Read also “It would be impossible to count all the works that ‘Blade Runner’ has influenced”

It was therefore opportune for Warner to appeal to him again (after Blade Runner 2049) for a challenge such as Dune, even though the rag is burning today between the filmmaker and the studio, which has decided to release the film simultaneously in theaters and on its HBO Max platform. In addition to the financial stake for the cinematographic receipts, the fact is that the film of Villeneuve – it is a physical and sensory evidence – is seen in room or not seen.

Read also Lynch’s “Dune”, in 1984, an extravagant, battered work, between grandiose and kitsch

In the meantime, we are in 10,000 and wheelbarrows, and the human race is still in control – a hypothesis on which no one would today put his hand to cut, among the thousand evils that threaten us. Let’s assume, however, that it’s still us rather than viruses or cockroaches. Space is subject to an omnipotent empire which, the better to rule, Machiavellically divides its subjects. The granting of the planet Arrakis to Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) is a ruthless example of this.

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