The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain ★★★

Day 368 of 366 of my year long challenge

Week 53: The End. (Bonus Round #2)

I'm still not sure what I watched here.

The Thief (Horacio Salinas) is found alone and abandoned far from the city. Taken there, he finds himself the inspiration for images of Jesus and his crucifixion. Chased off by a priest, the Thief finds himself at the foot of a tower. Looking for the source of the gold hanging from the tower, the Thief sneaks in only to find himself confronted with the Alchemist (Alejandro Jodorowsky). Taking the Thief as an apprentice, the Alchemist introduces him to seven people who will join him on a journey to the holy mountain and immortality.

When you spell it out and put it on paper, The Holy Mountain seems like it might actually make sense but when you're in it, when you're left to The Holy Mountain on your own, it's a truly surreal experience.

Framed by the Thief's story, The Holy Mountain is largely just a series of vignettes belonging to each of the other figures that join his journey. They each represent one of 7 other planets and represent the worst of humanity. Insofar as this is all satire and critique, Jodorowsky does a fairly good job. Each of their stories is so bizarre, insular and exaggerated that they actually give you reason to pause and ask questions.

It is, however, in the absolute weirdness of the film that Jodorowsky is likely to lose you. When he has a point, he has a point and it's easy to stay with. When he's forced to move between them, the imagery, action and symbology of it all is either so overwhelming or too obscure to have the desired impact. He makes up for it with the film's final moments but getting there is as close to a drug-fuelled spirit quest as I'm ever going to get.

It's weird and wacky and confronting. The Holy Mountain is Jodorowsky doing what he does best. I'm not entirely sure what that may be but it's on display in full swing here.

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