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Dune (70mm)

To coincide with the opening of a new David Lynch film (Mulholland Drive) and the re-release of the classic Blue Velvet, we present a rare opportunity to see a 70mm print of his 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel. This $40 million science fiction epic covers the entire span of the novel, and setting up the various worlds, characters, intrigues and forces at work requires more than a half-hour of expository screen time. Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) is a member of a family entrusted with the governorship of the desert planet Dune, where a life-preserving spice is mined from beneath the sands despite the menace provided by enormous worms which gobble up harvesters in a single gulp. Immediately after their arrival on the planet, Paul’s family is virtually wiped out by the evil Baron Harkonen (Kenneth McMillan), a bloated, boil-covered creature who floats in the air. Paul flees into the desert, where he unites with the Fremen tribesmen and attempts to wrest control from his adversary.
Lynch’s interest in industrial architecture is evident in the film’s unique and imaginative design. Working with the great cinematographer Freddie Francis, Lynch endows the film with a dark, surreal visual texture that emerges with much greater clarity in the 70mm version. Largely abandoning the political underpinning of Herbert’s book, the director seems more preoccupied with the religious symbolism of the hero’s quest, with Atreides emerging as a messiah leading his desert people to victory in a holy war. Atreides’s mysterious visions can stand alongside any Lynch dream sequence, and the bizarre horror of the scenes with the sadistic Baron Harkonnen is enough to make him a classic Lynch villain.
U.S.A., 1984. Colour. Panavision anamorphic. 70mm print. Dolby stereo. 140 mins.

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