The Holy Mountain

Fri, Sep 24, 2010

Holy Mountain caused a scandal when it first premiered at Cannes in 1973; today it is one of cult-cinema’s most challenging and influential works. Based loosely on French writer Rene Daumal’s Mount Analogue—first published some 20 years earlier—the work tells the complex story of a journey undertaken by an alchemist (played by Jodorowsky) who is joined by a cast of bizarre figures who go through a series of mystical rites to reach the summit of a holy mountain. The allegorical ascension, a stand-in for personal enlightenment, is rooted in the rich and shocking visuals that came to define Jodorowsky’s oeuvre. With the logic of dream-vision, Jodorowsky creates a sun-weary terrain punctuated by horrific violence and the wonderfully strange, including one memorable scene where the Spanish conquest of South America is rehashed by frogs and iguanas in full period costume.

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