Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Holy Mountain (1973)

Fabulous brain-baking bit of surrealism from Alejandro Jodorowsky deserves to be seen by more people. It starts as the Jesus story in reverse, but somewhere along the line it switches gears and becomes a satiric fable about the neverending quest for enlightenment. Jodorowsky clearly does hold stock in the idea of enlightenment, but at the same time he doesn't hold back his cynicism -- it's fairly notable that the travellers, with the exception of the ersatz Jesus, are all given elaborate backstories where their souls are shown to be less than clean (is it only the wicked who seek 'Truth'?), and catch a whiff of that ending: It's not exactly nihilistic or apocalyptic or anything you might expect, but it pulls the rug out from underneath the whole idea behind the film's second half. Through it all, Jodorowsky's penchant for attention-grabbing imagery remains at its peak (there are times when I felt like I could be damned just for watching this). It gets a bit overly 'mystical' for my tastes in the last segments but then that's by design, innit? A second viewing might prove even more rewarding.

Grade: B+


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