We know that Denis Villeneuve, which had already given us such interesting films as Prisioneros (2013), The Arrival (2016) or Blade Runner 2049 (2017), is in love with Dune, the novel published by Frank Herbert in 1965. The charlatanesque Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Sacred Mountain) wanted to adapt it in 1975, David Lynch (Lost Highway) managed to transfer it to moving images without much skill in 1984 and, finally, the director Canadian has provided us this 2021 the first part of the film version that he really deserved.
In this way, his motivations are to offer us his own perspective of what his filmic translation should show us and, in addition, to remove the bad taste in his mouth that the contribution of the American filmmaker produced in him. And in this personal perspective it is possible, however, the inspiration of a certain sequence of Star Wars: A New Hope (George Lucas, 1977), which is what we are going to in this text.
The power of nature in ‘Dune’
To get to that influence In Dune from one of the legs of modern cinema, the story of that far-away galaxy and the struggle between the Jedi Knights and the Sith Lords and their sides of the metaphysical Force, Denis Villeneuve recognizes that his specific experiences as a child are very relevant. “I grew up in a small town where I had a relationship with the horizon, the Saint Lawrence River. That line and that massive sky bring humility. You are as small as a human being when you have that kind of horizon around you, the power of nature, “he explains in an interview with Vanessa Armstrong for SlashFilm.
And he continues with these words: “I was also raised by a grandmother who taught me to be hypnotized every day. To be hypnotized by nature, by a flower, by everything … She told me: «I pray every time I am in my garden to be in relationship with plants and nature. If God exists, that’s where I feel his power. That’s something I heard as a kid: a true and sacred relationship with nature. It’s something that really mesmerized me”.
So, during the necessary pre-production of Dune, Denis Villeneuve told his regular Patrice Vermette [La llegada], who has done a great job with his production design]and to his other colleagues: “Guys, I would love for you to get as far away from the internet as possible, I would love for you to meditate. I would love for them to dream. I would like this movie to come from within us, not from other external influences, that we find our own way in our mind to try to contribute something”. His look of nature, in short.
The ‘Star Wars’ desert
In view of this, Denis Villeneuve admits that “they were very arrogant” in claiming such originality because “many science fiction films have been made before” his and, despite this, “one of the keys was nature, trying be as close to nature as possible”. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that he declared to Empire magazine’s Helen O’Hara that he would like to make young people who see Dune fall in love with “the beautiful ecosystems and Herbert’s unique relationship with nature.”
And it is here that we meet the Jedi and the Atreides, in the desert of Tatooine and Arrakis: “When I saw the first [película de] Star wars In 1977, my favorite scenes were the ones that felt the most natural, ”Denis Villeneuve tells Vanessa Armstrong. “ANDn the we see droids in the beginning, there was something about the force of nature”. And he finishes: “I was raised making documentaries where nature is your most powerful eye and I try to bring that to Dune. Curiously, I tried to make a science fiction film a bit like a documentary, using nature as a great ally instead of fighting against it. ” And you can see it.