The greatest film never made

Jodorowsky's "Dune" is brought back to life

"Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune: an Exhibition of a Film of a Book that Never Was" has just opened at the Drawing Room Gallery in east London (ends 25 October). Taking the cult Chilean film-maker's unsuccessful 1976 attempt at an adaptation of Frank Herbert's science-fiction novel as its departure point, the show assembles apocalyptic works by the likes of Vidya Gastaldon and Matthew Day Jackson to explore what the curator calls "a parallel cinematic world".

Jodorowsky's Dune has a decent claim to being the greatest film never made. That it aimed to pool the talents of Pink Floyd, Orson Welles, Mick Jagger and visual artists including H R Geiger (who later worked on Ridley Scott's Alien), Moebius and Chris Foss would be good enough. That Jodorowsky wanted to cast Salvador Dalí as "Emperor of the Universe", only for Dalí to insist on being paid $100,000 an hour so that he could "earn more than Greta Garbo", tips the balance even further in its favour.

But what about Tarkovsky's never-started film of Hamlet? Or Darren Aronofsky's proposed take on Batman? Or Nick Cave's time-travelling Gladiator sequel? Feel free to suggest your own additions to the canon in the comment box below.

Then take a look at Toby Litt's encomium on science fiction from this week's issue.

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Brexit… Leg-sit

A new poem by Jo-Ella Sarich. 

Forgot Brexit. An ostrich just walked into the room. Actually,
forget ostriches too. Armadillos also have legs, and shoulder plates
like a Kardashian.  Then I walked in, the other version of me, the one
with legs like wilding pines, when all of them

are the lumberjacks. Forget forests. Carbon sinks are down
this month; Switzerland is the neutral territory
that carved out an island for itself. My body
is the battleground you sketch. My body is
the greenfield development, and you
are the heavy earthmoving equipment. Forget
the artillery in the hills
and the rooftops opening up like nesting boxes. Forget about

the arms race. Cheekbones are the new upper arms
since Michelle lost out to Melania. My cheekbones
are the Horsehead Nebula and you are the Russians
at warp speed. Race you to the finish. North Korea

will go away if you stop thinking
about it. South Korea will, too. Stop thinking
about my sternum. Stop thinking about
the intricacy of my mitochondria. Thigh gaps
are the new wage gaps, and mine is like
the space between the redwood stand
and the plane headed for the mountains. Look,

I’ve pulled up a presentation
with seven different eschatologies
you might like to try. Forget that my arms
are the yellow tape around the heritage tree. Forget
about my exoskeleton. Forget
that the hermit crab
has no shell of its own. Forget that the crab ever
walked sideways into the room.
Pay attention, people.

Jo-Ella Sarich is a New Zealand-based lawyer and poet. Her poems have appeared in the Galway Review and the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017.

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear