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Directed by David Lynch

United States 1984 137 mins. In English

Famed producers Dino and Rafaella De Laurentiis took a chance on Lynch directing Dune, after the beloved novel by Frank Herbert, upon seeing Lynch’s The Elephant Man. A tumultuous scripting process, a budget of $40 million, and a grueling production in Mexico led to the finished film, which itself went through many phases of editing and led to Lynch distancing himself from the film shortly after its release. In the year 10991, rival noble families battle for administration of the planet Arrakis (Dune) and control of the rare drug mélange, which can alter space and time, making it essential for space travel. The Atreides clan, led by Duke Leto (Jürgen Prochnow) and his son Paul (Kyle MacLachlan), are installed by the Supreme Being—but the ousted Harkonnens, a nasty bunch led by Baron Vladimir (Kenneth McMillan), won’t simply fade into the background without a fight. Lynch’s Dune, in stark contrast to many cinematic sci-fi adaptations, builds a unique universe: “If the movie’s goal was to create, like the book, a world that felt utterly alien, then Lynch and his surreal style were the right choice. With its bizarre dream sequences, rife with images of unborn fetuses and shimmering energies, and unsettling scenery like the industrial hell of the Harkonnen homeworld, the film’s actually closer to Kubrick than Lucas. It seeks to put the viewer somewhere unfamiliar while hinting at a greater, hidden story.”—Daniel Snyder, The Atlantic. “To hear what people were saying about me after Dune could have completely destroyed my confidence and happiness, and you need to be happy to make stuff. I was almost dead. Almost dead! But because of The Elephant Man they couldn’t discount me completely. If I’d just made Eraserhead and Dune I’d have been cooked! Dune took me off at the knees. Maybe a little higher.”—David Lynch.

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