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The Holy Mountain (1973)

The characters are led by the alchemist through various transformation rituals. The ten journey by boat to "Lotus Island" in order to gain the secret of immortality from nine immortal masters who live on a holy mountain. Once on Lotus Island they are sidetracked by the Pantheon Bar, a cemetery party where people have abandoned their quest for the holy mountain and instead engage in drugs, poetry, or acts of physical prowess. Leaving the bar behind, they ascend the mountain. Each has a personal symbolic vision representing their worst fears and obsessions.

The Holy Mountain (1973)

Near the top, the thief is sent back to his "people" along with a young prostitute and an ape who have followed him from the city to the mountain. The rest confront the cloaked immortals, who are shown to be only faceless dummies. The alchemist then breaks the fourth wall with the command "Zoom back, camera!" and reveals the film apparatus (cameras, microphones, lights, and crew) just outside the frame. He instructs everyone, including the audience of the film, to leave the holy mountain: "Goodbye Holy Mountain, Real life awaits us."

The film is based on Ascent of Mount Carmel by John of the Cross and Mount Analogue by René Daumal, who was a student of George Gurdjieff. In this film, much of Jodorowsky's visually psychedelic story follows the metaphysical thrust of Mount Analogue. This is revealed in such events as the climb to the alchemist, the assembly of individuals with specific skills, the discovery of the mountain that unites Heaven and Earth "that cannot not exist", and symbolic challenges along the mountain ascent. Daumal died before finishing his allegorical novel, and Jodorowsky's improvised ending provides a way of completing the work (both symbolically and otherwise).[original research?]

A Mexican master leads a Christ figure and other disciples to a mountain of immortal wise men. The scandal of the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky's flood of sacrilegious imagery and existential symbolism in The Holy Mountain is a spiritual quest for enlightenment pitting illusion against truth. The Alchemist (Jodorowsky) assembles together a group of people from all walks of life to represent the planets in the solar system. The occult adept's intention is to put his recruits through strange mystical rites and divest them of their worldly baggage before embarking on a trip to Lotus Island. There they ascend the Holy Mountain to displace the immortal gods who secretly rule the universe.

Ok, back. In the final third of the story, new Jesus and his disciples attempt to climb the holy mountain, and this part of the movie is different in tone. It is no longer outrageous, but more like a recording of performance art in the mountains. Jodorowsky himself feels called to explain what is going on, with his Spanish accent that is quite easy to mock. It loses some of its focus here and moves slower, although this part is the whole point of the movie.

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About Me I've studying the Bible on Film for twenty years, with my first book "100 Bible Films" (BFI) came out in May 2022. I've also contributing to various edited works including "T&T Clark Handbook to Jesus and Film" (2021), "The Bible Onscreen in the New Millennium", "The T&T Clark Companion to the Bible and Film" (2018) and "The Bible in Motion" (2016). I have also written for various other publications including rejesus. More generally I've given a number of talks / led through groups on Jesus in Film and was a consultant for the Channel 4 documentary The Passion : Films, Faith and Fury. Monday, September 22, 2014 The Holy Mountain (1973) Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain is, I suppose, a Jesus film of sorts. But it's not hard to see it's rarely discussed along with more conventional takes on the story. Jodorowsky's dark surrealist vision is riddled with images that will tend to offend the kind of people who tend to watch Jesus films, and many others besides.I don't know a great deal about surrealist films and so I'm not going to pretend I do, nor pass much judgement on what Jodorowsky has produced. Certainly it's hard to know what to make of it all. But the images are undeniably striking and vivid and arresting and the sounds so utterly disconcerting that the hellishness of it all is hard to miss. Nevertheless it's not hard to see why it's not more widely known or even discussed. It's form is so very far from the mass appeal of Hollywood.It was financed heavily by John and Yoko and it's not hard to speculate as to common ground. Nevertheless it remains Jodorowsky's vision of the hell that man can inflict on his fellow man and religion's impotence and at time complicity with that. Yet for all that, it's also kinda dull as the scores of naked bodies rapidly lose their appeal and the occasionally impressive camera tricks begin to form a parade of the grotesque that never really reaches it's destination. posted at 11:23 pm Matt Page 2005-2023 041b061a72


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