Samalayuca Dune Fields

Samalayuca Dune Fields

We are writing 1984 in our calendars.


It was then the year as David Lynch has written not only an abundant sci-fi story but also a perfect cinematic piece as subtle and noir as not many movies have become up to date. A science fiction book by Frank Herbert, which has been considered as non-filmable, has been taken and adapted for the screen. A cinematic masterpiece has emerged from an enriched metaphorical language and a mystical vision of the future has been written in a book with almost 400 pages.


The film shootings started in March 1983 with a first tape for "The Desert Planet" and ended in September of the same year, followed by months of screen effectuation and cutting. And when the team left Mexico in 1984, director David Lynch and his crew have spent about a year under a desert sun with much annoying stress, but powerful visions.


The camera crew filmed Dune in the Samalayuca desert and at the Churubusco Studios in Mexico City. Churubusco was at that time Mexico's largest film studio, but not with an exclusive reputation. The exterior film shooting of the story needed then to be done at the Samalayuca desert. The desert was chosen also because of the red and infrared spectrum of the light. Many special effects of the film are using this specific flashlight of the desert sun as a basic feature. Up to 1000 people were temporarily employed at "The Desert Planet" and the filming started to get a real adventure.


David Lynch talked about the screen locations in Mexiko as a dump. "When we were out there looking for filming, I saw 12 dead dogs alone on the way, and when we finally arrived, it was a garbage dump that even smoked, but finally we had a wonderful location", he said.


"The Desert Planet" is a science fiction movie, eye-catching and sublime, and has empowered many people with a cinematic piece of mythological vision.


Frank Herbert had worked for several regional newspapers in the Pacific. The idea of writing a science fiction book has been developed when he was writing an article about an ecological problem, seen only at the coastlines at the American Westcoast. Frank Herbert was a typical character of the libertarian Californian culture, self-reliant and with negative attitudes against all authorities. He had a detailed willingness to experiment with everything he thought to be good, as he published the science fiction novel.


Dune is set in a far future, where warring noble houses are kept in order by a ruthless galactic emperor, Imperator Shaddam IV.


The narrative of the film itself is beginning with a conspiracy.


An empire is shuttered with a great political intrigue. Arrakis, a desert planet and most important for the raw material Spice Melange, is the theater of a cruel end of a galactic empire. The spice is necessary to move the spaceships from one place to the next without actually passing time. The duke of Harkonnen, disgusted by his fear against the house Atreides and their rulers, is preparing a war against the Atreides. As the war begins, the Atreides are already underneath and soon defeated. Still in training, young Paul Atreides is already showing signals of a cosmic precociousness. Paul Atreides and his mother suddenly need to escape. Freed they meet a group of Fremen, native inhabitants of the planet Arrakis, who are immediately shaken by an immanent natural force, only be able to sense. Paul is then called just Muad 'Dib. As Muad 'Dib he is starting his monumental confrontation against the empire.


After several years of battling the imperial troops with sand worms and their power to transform weather, Paul Atreides has won the reign over the spice.


While many other science fiction novels are focusing only on specific aspects of a possible future, is Dune emphasizing drama and huge efforts. The idea of overcoming old powers is exciting and in detail a consequence of numerous traditional narratives also in other known movies. From then on, Dune had a long way to go.

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