The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain ★★★½

"The Holy Mountain is a film outside the tradition of criticism and review." ~ Trailer

Okay. So what can I say? There are more bizarre, trippy images in the first five minutes of this film than David Lynch shot in all his films combined. Kenneth Anger, Salividor Dali and Luis Buñuel together couldn't come up with such scenes. Writer-director-lead actor Alejandro Jodorowsky is the absolute master of cinematic alchemy, creating a world so insanely full of symbolism, sex and sacrilege that no critic should dare attempt to review it.

I read that the film is based on "The Ascent of Mt. Carmel" by St. John of the Cross and "Mt. Analogue" by Rene Daumal. But it is clear that such concepts as a visit to "The Sanctuary of the 1,000 Testicles" is Jodorowsky's fertile mind at work, as is the use of Japanese tea ceremony movements in the introductory scene. He pokes fun at various cultures, rituals, beliefs and values and even at filmmaking itself.

Maybe Jodorowsky climbed the Holy Mountain with this film. Perhaps he found the immortality that he and his troupe of actors were seeking as the nine planets, as the world-renouncing materialists, as the shaven-head new residents of eternity. I just know I enjoyed the journey, but like the mind-altering purple micro-dot I dropped a few years before this film was made, I probably won't be booking a return trip.

In fact, on additional reflection, I'm thinking that although this film is a wonderful effort, it's a bit like soap carving. It can be exquisite in the extreme, but it's the wrong medium to change notions of art. The same absurdist elements that make it evocative make it comic and less likely to be taken as a serious commentary on the nature of enlightenment.

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