The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain ★★★★

Retro Film Series - The Carolina Theatre. Part of a double-bill with El Topo. 

“We have psychedelic shotguns.”

Ohhhh...what Jodorowsky could’ve done with Dune. The phantasmagorical, incendiary, satirical exuberance of his towering The Holy Mountain proves his creative vision had virtually no limits. It’s a feast for the eyes and surprisingly NOT an assault on the senses, though anyone who doesn’t take the correct approach and allow the film to wash over them will likely find it both perplexing and aggravating. The production design and photography alone are miraculous and feel as though they were beamed in from another planet, so outlandish and seemingly impossible. Like his breakthrough El Topo and much later Santa Sangre, the polarizing auteur revels in a grotesque, carnival atmosphere where anything can happen and almost certainly does. For the casual viewer, the first half hour may be off-putting and far too jarring, but once our Christ-like protagonist meets Jodorowsky’s Alchemist and we zoom through a segmented cross-section of parodical militarism and consumerism, things become far more palatable and fun. Despite the darkness of some sequences, there’s a playful spirit hovering above the wild proceedings and although it falters a bit as it presses on toward the 2-hour mark, it’s a film not soon forgotten.

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