Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Holy Mountain

La montaña sagrada; Grotesque; Mexico/ USA, 1973; D: Alejandro Jodorowsky, S: Horácio Salinas, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Zamira Saunders, Juan Ferrara, Adriana Page, Burt Kleiner, Valerie Jodorowsky

A man shaves the heads of two women in a strange room. People throw rocks at a man who looks like Jesus. He wakes up and descends from the cross, becoming friends with a cripple. He walks around the town and is disgusted by religious ceremonies of people. Some men make a copy of his body and leave him in a storage. He wakes up and spots hundreds of Christ puppets around him, screaming and running away in horror. He takes one statue and converts a bunch of prostitutes on the street. He goes to a church only to find a priest sleeping with a Christ statue. He eats the statue. Then he climbs up a tall, red building, entering a rainbow room, meeting up with a strange old man accompanied by women with Hebrew tattoos on their body. The old man becomes his mentor and gives him 10 disciples, all politicians and industrialists who produce bombs, war toys and masks. They shave their heads and go on a journey to find the Holy Mountain. They climb up and sit on a table. The old man tells them their life isn't real, revealing it is all just a movie.

„The Holy Mountain“ is another abstract, almost experimental movie without plot by director Alejandro Jodorowsky that gained cult status. Obnoxious, shocking, repulsive, disgusting and weird, it's a film that tries to shake the audience and wake them up from their lethargy, again combining the author's vision of a disgusting, corrupt world and the need for religion, closer to Buddhism than Christianity, to save it. The messages are contemplative, but the subtle touch is almost nonexistent due to the radical tone of the author - the first third has almost no dialogues at all, relying only on surreal images that work on a subconscious level: the hero, a Christ like figure, descends from a cross. He observes people dressing up frogs and lizards as Crusaders and monks, walking around a miniature city from which blood starts pouring out. A man calls for a girl prostitute and puts his crystal eye into her arm. It's hard to find a meaning of all those weird symbols: maybe the scene where the Christ hero wakes up and screams in horror at hundreds of Christ statues around him suggests that people should find the real faith, and not create replicas of it or turn it into something material? The second half in which the hero finds a new mentor and disciples in order to search for the Holly Mountain offers a few deep thoughts again combined with the weird imagery by Salvador Dali, but for such a spiritual search, the movie is simply incompetent since it has little spirituality itself. What's so spiritual in shot of a bull mating with a cow, except in the fact that the author didn't know what he was going to do with the film anymore and thus turned it into a Godard like hyper reality?


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