The Holy Mountain ★★★★½

The December Project: Film #4

Back when I saw Santa Sangre, I thought it a ludicrously odd and thereby extremely powerful concoction of surrealist imagery and extremity, a marvellously effective work of weird horror. "This Jodorowsky chap is odd," I thought. Oh how young. Oh how naive. Santa Sangre is the definition of linear narration in comparison to The Holy Mountain, an unashamedly insane, unrelentingly experimental, and utterly mental procession of provocative naughtiness that slowly, but oh so very surely, takes you by the brain and guides you into the furthest recesses of Jodorowsky's twisted mind. Films scarcely come weirder, its hypnotic combination of symbolic imagery and sexual and violent content making almost every frame an exercise in sheer strangeness. And yet, it all makes such magnificent sense. Jodorowsky may seem like a loon who's been gifted a camera, but really The Holy Mountain unfolds like a well-structured argument, gradually disassembling the tenets of contemporary society and examining in striking depth the multitude of ways in which our species is so very fucked up. A product of the counterculture movement of the time, it's never reserved in its criticisms thereof either, one whole sequence given to lambasting its contemporaries and their less desirable attitudes. And then there's that ending... that ending. For all its sheer mania, The Holy Mountain has got to be one of the most focused, singular films I've seen; this may look like the ramblings of a madman, but it's the thesis of a genius.