The Holy Mountain ★★★★½

Holy Mountain is easily Jodorowski's most visually ambitious film, and taking any semblance of real narrative cohesion out of the equation and only focusing on how to create a visual to best communicate a message. This is less of a movie and more of filmed performance art.

The bits that are narrated are there to offer you context into what Jodorowski's message is specifically, making it pretty easy to comprehend what his message is. A lot of it has to do with the perversion of religion for grabs and power and money, and how to truly be a spiritual being you have to let go of mortal desires and sins. It's not necessarily breaking any new ground in it's message, but the way it's delivered visually is unlike anything I have ever seen. Every scene is clearly framed the exact way Jodorwoski wanted it, and each section stands on it's own as a stunning piece of visual art.

With it's lack of dialogue and focus on communicating messages and feelings through it's visuals, The Holy Mountain seems to be a movie best viewed from a sort of spaced-out state. Kind of like a meditation aid, it benefits to stop picking apart the scenes for symbols and just let the entire thing wash over you as an experience. In his earlier films, El Topo would leave viewers grasping for answers and having to do quite a lot of work just to understand what anything was about. In Holy Mountain, the imagery is so powerful that it confronts the viewer with the bold truth, and there's not a lot of room for misinterpretation. It's abstract art with a clear purpose, real life viewed through the lens of a demented Dr. Seuss.

Holy Mountain is Jodorowski at his most pure and uncompromising, and the result is rather magical. I only have two minor complaints, the first is that it seems a little overlong. Even though it's runtime is under two hours, when you take out any semblance of narrative pacing to get you invested the whole thing does seem to drag a little more. My other complaint is that I didn't drop any acid before watching it.

Holy Mountain was obviously groundbreaking in the time it was released, and still is equally groundbreaking today. It purposefully ignores all definitions of what a "film" should be. That ambition alone makes it worth a watch, but it's the perfectly captured visual reflection of Alejandro Jordowski's mind that makes it a classic

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