Our personalities of the year 2021: Denis Villeneuve, filmmaker

After a difficult year 2020, 2021 will have been a roller-coaster at best, and things are already looking uncertain for 2022. In these stressful times, culture is becoming more essential than ever. Thanks to her, we can escape, we can dream. This is exactly what Denis Villeneuve, our 2021 cultural personality, accomplished with his adaptation of the novel deemed unsuitable. Dune. Grandiose film, Dune (V.F.) will have allowed us, briefly, wonderfully, to escape, to dream.

In interview at Duty, Denis Villeneuve explained to what extent Frank Herbert’s work, a classic of science fiction, had marked him as a teenager. Some of the images from his film he had carried with him for over 40 years. “My fear was to disappoint myself, that my film would not live up to the dream I had”, he confided at the time.

We hope reassured. In fact, with the exception of one or two inevitable hiccups, the criticism was largely rave. The Guardian granted to Dune the perfect score of five stars, like the Duty Moreover. Perhaps more significant still, several fellow filmmakers, and not the least, have praised Denis Villeneuve before, during, and after the film’s release this fall.

In conversation with Denis Villeneuve for Variety, James Cameron (Terminator, Aliens, Avatar) had these flattering words:

“What strikes me with Duneis that the film is really epic […] You seem to have the discipline, the vocabulary, of real epic cinema, that kind of grand display that is just presented and takes its time with the music and everything. “

Invited to discuss with Denis Villeneuve as part of the podcast Director’s Cut, the director ofInception (Origin) and D’Interstellar (Interstellar), Christopher Nolan, was full of praise:

“I believe this is an extraordinary work. I have had the leisure to see the film a few times now, and every time I have seen it I have discovered new things, new details of this world. […] It’s a real treat and a real gift for moviegoers everywhere – and thank you very much for that, Denis. “

Oscar winner for Best Picture and Best Director for Nomadland, Chloé Zhao for her part confided to the monthly Sight & Sound :

“It gives me hope that a filmmaker like Denis will be able to really harness his vision to put together something so incredible, so cinematic. I am blown away by the experience I had in this room. “

And us with her.

Keep dreaming

However, it was not long before Dune, like other big guns from the Warner Bros studio, is not found exclusively on the HBO Max platform, a decision made in the context of the pandemic. A hybrid release was ultimately favored, and moviegoers were able to enjoy the film in all its magnificence on the big screen.

The public was also large enough to convince the studio and its partner Legendary Pictures to give the green light to Denis Villeneuve for the completion of his diptych, the official title of the initial part being in this case. Dune : Part One (Dune: Part one).

To this happy news recently came another, namely that the filmmaker would also adapt the award-winning novel. Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clark, author of 2001, a space odyssey. Again, according to many, this is a literary work that is difficult to adapt (even the gifted David Fincher had to give up).

However, after Dune, but also Arrival (The arrival) and Blade Runner 2049, nothing seems impossible for Denis Villeneuve, especially in science fiction, a genre that he manages to make both cerebral and accessible, Homeric and intimate.

This means that he has not finished realizing his cinema dreams and, in doing so, allowing us to dream with him.

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