The Holy Mountain

The Holy Mountain ★★★★½

"You are excrement. You can change yourself into gold." - The Alchemist

About a month ago, I witnessed what was probably the strangest film I had seen thus far in life, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears. Utter nonsense from beginning to end, there was no concern for story, character or logical progressions from A to B. Difficult to love, but easy to get lost in, it was an experience I was not going to forget in a while.

So, along comes my first Jodorowsky film in about two years, The Holy Mountain, at my local tea shop, as part of the nationwide Scaralamara programme. With 10 strangers, I sat there, waiting for Jodorowsky to either climb inside me or push me away. And climb all the way inside me he did indeed.

There's no legitimate way to review this as a film, so instead, it's better done as an art installation. The random images and situations that Jodorowsky conjures are positively entrancing, and I can't think of a single one that wasn't a complete original. He jam-packs shots with so many unique visions and sights that it's difficult to tear your eyes away for fear of missing something that you've never seen before. The sight of a naked man lactating through cheetah heads onto another man's face is both hilarious, disturbing and oddly hypnotic, no matter whether you're disgusted by it or not.

Jodorowsky's creation has some semblance of a satirical message about dissecting religion, but he doesn't completely alienate the uninitiated by simply making his nonsense fun and, ultimately, funny. At times, The Holy Mountain is a hysterical riot, not putting any restraint on its ridiculousness, and the result is infectious. One finale-based lampoonery is an acknowledgement of such, and actually involves Jodorowsky himself pulling mocking faces at the camera. What a guy.

I never hope to fully decipher the mysteries of The Holy Mountain, because what would be the fun in that? This madness is meant to be enjoyed on ignorant terms, where the viewer doesn't watch it for a soul-enriching experience, but instead watches it because it's so much damn fun. I'll take the hike any time.

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