Friday, January 23, 2009

The Holy Mountain

As I watched Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1973 masterpiece, The Holy Mountain, in slackjawed awe last night I had a strange feeling of precognition-that I somehow knew the ending from a dream I once had. I was not disappointed when nearly 2 hours into this surreal tale of alchemical transformation and hyperdimensional soul-cleansing, the mindfuck finally materialized as foreseen. This film is probably the closest you can come to doing hallucinogenic drugs without actually doing them. Jodorowsky's sweeping visual pageant is like a color coded voyage into a metaphysical encyclopedia crossed with a weird carnival-exploitation film. Not one second passes without an exotic animal, 1 limbed midget, or a hairy hippy with a top hat suddenly finding a reason to materialize. And unlike Mathew Barney or Vanessa Beecroft, who's work is now shown to be clearly cribbed from Jodoroswky's, the film somehow always makes sense. The hermetic systems of relation and association are always grounded in narrative, no matter how esoteric they become. At once absurd and profound, The Holy Mountain is like any other quest for spiritual enlightenment, a process that is constantly revealing itself to be exactly the opposite of what you expected.

1 comment:

thesecretlivesofcats said...

As weird as it is, this movie was intended to reach people. Jodorowsky admits he was painfully idealistic when he made it. I heard Le Grand Bouffe overshadowed it as the darling of audacity at Cannes when it was released. That we can finally see it properly now is one of the perks of this decade.

But unlike his claim, I believe Jodorowsky IS NOT the first male actor to don black nail polish.