The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain

Jodorowsky doesn't have much to say, but he does have a compulsive need to speak; from a few blocky, robust narrative formulations his ideas pour out endlessly. It's as if each scene attempts to reach a eureka, but the ball keeps getting dropped and confusion comes in the way; then the next scene is up at it again, but it's still not quite it, and eventually Jodorowsky just has to bail, calling out his own movie as arbitrary. It's very much like a Pasolini film, only less interested in being a "film" and having no real argument or line of reasoning beyond its main statement (we need to go buddhist). One may consider how films like Porcile or Teorema feel just as surreal and transcendental as The Holy Mountain, despite it being much more extravagant. It's because "depth", for lack of a better word, has nothing to do with what happens on screen but why it happens. Similarily, most can appreciate the philosophical merits and intellectual sophistication of Inside Out, a big budget Pixar movie ostensibly made just for kids.

The Holy Mountain works as a comedy, it's pleasures begin and end at a "what the fuck will happen next"-level of excitement. This has to be, because Jodorowsky isn't going from A to B and his movie isn't really headed towards any real conclusion. His mind is very much set already from the beginning, so each scene can only say different versions of the same thing, and an incredible amount of energy goes in to decoration. Much of this movie could just as easily have been a series of still shots. Perhaps the insistence of the director suggests a kind of frustration, as if he desperately turns to visual violence when his intellectual reach fails or when he is unable to communicate what he wants to say (I know that a lot of the symbolism here comes from nothing but his own private logic... which feels sort of amateur; symbolism is the most primitive form of artistic communication anyway, anyone can go for it). By comparison, Pasolini was a cold bastard who could master (yes why not) the alchemy of art in the cinematic form. Jodorowsky was hot as hell and therefore could really only punch and smash and grab and toss and blow things up.

Of course, I could be wrong in this assertion; this is the first time I've seen this film and I could have probably payed more attention to it. But even if 10 rewatches and an audio commentary would only make my beliefs stronger, the movie is not boring; it's reassuring, also, somehow, to know that there at least was a time when human thoughts and emotions could be expressed at this level of uncompromised intensity.