The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain ★★★★

We are experimenting with a drug to creat delusions of grandeur.

Ehh. Oh boy. How do you even review this film? The picture itself proclaims it transcends or goes beyond conventional reviews or ratings. So there's that. Pack up. Go home. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

The Holy Mountain begs to be viewed in the company of others and discussed real time. Its a group effort to digest, really. Its too much to filter through one brain. The symbolism in other good films will hit you in close range like a shotgun. The symbolism in The Holy Mountain fires at you like a fully automatic fucking AA12 shotgun. This is by far and away the most symbolically layered piece of cinema I've ever seen in my life. I really don't see anything topping it in the near future. The Holy Mountain does not belong on a theater bill. It doesn't belong in Holllywood. It almost doesn't belong on film at all. It looks and sounds like something that belongs in a prestigious art district gallery. When I watched it I could almost smell paints, waxes and parchment papers that are usually associated with an art studio or a freshly painted masterwork; Jodorowski the crazed and frenetic artist trying desperately to seal the glimpses of his lucid subconscious on screen forever.

Where other films hide their symbolism behind the spoken word or the advancement of the plot, Jodorowski flips this around and completely erodes plot to make sure your full and undecided attention is on the images front and center. It fires strangeness at you at rapid speeds and despite its intimidating (for this kind of film) run time, the film barely feels over an hour and a half because its images are moving so quickly and its minimal plot is progressing large chunks at a time. Christ like figure is introduced. He meets an alchemist. They make a group. They go up a mountain. The end. This plot progression is given a hearty dose of psilocybin mushrooms and handed a paintbrush and pastel. We watch in awe as the film paints its ludicrous images before our eyes.

The Holy Mountain is definitely soaked in absurdity but for the most part a lot of the images imply vast intellectual depth. Obviously simple crazy images have a standard meaning but I feel like I've only dipped my toes in the vast ocean within Jodorowskis cranium. Alejandro combines political satire with sacrilegious cynicism and social critique. The mold of Christ hoisted up by his ankles like an animal by aptly colored red and blue balloons. War toys made in a children's factory. A kingdom of exploding frogs. Spiritualism and sacrifice. Sex. Machines. Rock and roll. Earth. Mountains. Sky. Hidden subliminal crosses. Menorah pistols. Riots. Killings. Life. Dreams. Jodorowski fires at you will all cylinders engaged. This will make your mind do jumping jacks while trying to run in a circle. If Terrence Malick's Tree of Life was an elegant portrayal of godliness in the flesh, this a middle finger to that. This is an unholy nightmare of images and surreal collages of subliminal substance.

Jodorowski has come closest to meeting in the middle when it comes to pure art and pure cinema. I have yet to even begin comprehending the typhoon of pictures I just saw. But I can guarantee I will see nothing like it ever in my life. The angelic, harmonious and earthy feelings you associate with pairing the words Holy and Mountain will forever be erased.

These images will be with me until I die.

I don't know whether to thank or curse Jodorowski for that....

Larry liked these reviews