Aronne Ibarra’s review published on Letterboxd:
That was a lot to unpack.
Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain is easily one of the weirdest films I have ever seen. But it all makes sense. The imagery has an ethereal quality to it, the screen is loaded with tons of imagery, and the realization of the epic message is nothing short of enlightening.
It's an unbelievably dense movie and I feel good for myself for picking up a fraction of its points on my first watch.
The story of The Holy Mountain is a human one. Being born into the world stained with all kinds of greed, one cannot help but to grow up into a thief him or herself--taking part in the natural cline of the dirty society one was thrown in. Jodorowsky throws in a lengthy montage of the world's most 'powerful' people. These people are the personifications of the wrongs of the modern consumerist and capitalist society. There are producers of shallow physical beauty, patrons of violence, champions of excess, child manipulators, and more. In this society where more is not enough, man comes to a realization of seeking more than the physical.
The pilgrimage in search for the metaphysical truth is the core journey within The Holy Mountain. In search of immortality and eternality entails giving up earthly pleasures and desires. The horrors of the pain and difficulties of letting go is pictured in shocking and excruciating images. It's a visceral attack and a visual arrest. Temptations are inevitable but a rigid will seeking for self-actualization fends these devils off. And at last when we reach the holy mountain, does our journey end there? Jodorowsky disagrees. The endlessness and infinity of everything is brought to view. The ending of the film is particularly a thought-provoking one; surely one of the most thought-provoking endings I have ever witnessed. It raises questions that we're not ready to answer yet. We can only ponder.
I loved the cinematography and the epic message The Holy Mountain delivers. But I still think it's quite goddamn pretentious. Visual storytelling is used to the absolute max and there are shitloads of symbolism littered everywhere. While these beautiful images help the narrative, couldn't they have been a little easier to grapple with, because I think they're quite overdone? The provocative and quite expository narration clashes with the intended abstraction of images.
So there. A lot of information to absorb, and a lot more to learn. But quite pretentious. I hope I like it more when I see it again soon.
P.S. YMS never disappoints me.