The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain ★★★★★

Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's successor to his 1970 acid Western El Topo borrows from the auteur cinema of the 60s, especially Godard, and is similarly ahead of its time. Brimming with charisma, it loosely follows the growth of a religious cult while examining the paradox of the shortage of reasoning within a faith. It taps into philosophical notions while also investigating the worst of humanity, furthermore finding time to analyse pretensions about society and provide commentary on how far it's been taken in the wrong direction. It rejects typical genre conventions and very nearly starred John Lennon, who, as an admirer of El Topo, assisted in raising the film's financing. Jodorowsky deliberately keeps his meanings somewhat opaque, and the screenplay could perhaps be best described as a linked series of ideas. Still, things work out beautifully, and The Holy Mountain is an utterly brilliant example of pure cinematic freedom.

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