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The Holy Mountain (1973)

R  |   |  Drama, Fantasy  |  11 July 1975 (Mexico)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 18,942 users  
Reviews: 117 user | 77 critic

In a corrupt, greed-fueled world, a powerful alchemist leads a Christ-like character and seven materialistic figures to the Holy Mountain, where they hope to achieve enlightenment.

Director:

(as Alexandro Jodorowsky)

Writer:

(as Alexandro Jodorowsky)
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The Alchemist (as Alexandro Jodorowsky)
Horacio Salinas ...
Zamira Saunders ...
The Written Woman (as Ramona Saunders)
Juan Ferrara ...
Fon
Adriana Page ...
Burt Kleiner ...
Valerie Jodorowsky ...
Sel
Nicky Nichols ...
Richard Rutowski ...
Axon (as Richard Rutowsky)
Luis Lomelí ...
Lut
...
The Prostitute
Chucho-Chucho ...
The Chimpanzee
Letícia Robles ...
Bald Woman 1 (as Leticia Robles)
Connie De La Mora ...
Bald Woman 2
David Kapralik ...
Tourist
Edit

Storyline

A Christlike figure wanders through bizarre, grotesque scenarios filled with religious and sacrilegious imagery. He meets a mystical guide who introduces him to seven wealthy and powerful people, each representing a planet in the Solar system. These seven, along with the protagonist, the guide and the guide's assistant, divest themselves of their worldly goods and form a group of nine who will seek the Holy Mountain, in order to displace the gods who live there and become immortal. Written by Marty Cassady <martyc@vt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

11 July 1975 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

La montaña sagrada  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$844 (USA) (4 May 2007)

Gross:

$61,001 (USA) (4 July 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The crucified animal carcasses were borrowed from a local restaurant, which were then served to customers upon being returned. See more »

Quotes

The Alchemist: The grave recieves you with love. Surrender yourself to the Earth. Return what was loaned to you. Give up your pleasure, your pain, your friends, your lovers, your life, your past, what you desire. You will know nothingness, it is the only reality. Don't be afraid, it's so easy to give. You're not alone, you have a grave. It was your first mother. The grave is the door to your rebirth. Now you will surrender the faithful animal you once called your body. Don't try to keep it, remember, it was a...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mise-en-abyme (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Surrealism with symbols
16 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The major problem with Alejandro Jodorowsky's films is that the imagery does not stand alone; it stands for something else. The essence of surrealism, of course, is its lack of rational coherence, its absence of logic and meaning. The images in 'Un Chien Andalou' were dreamt up, while Jodorowsky's are contrived. He imposes meaning and does not seem to believe in free association. He is, in a word, didactic.

'The Holy Mountain,' an improvement upon his muddy cult epic 'El Topo,' begins promisingly enough with an eerie, wordless prologue in a temple in which the heads of two women are shaved by a cloaked deity as an initiation rite. The imagery here is striking, as is the imagery throughout most of the film, but I dare say it'd all be a lot more significant with the volume muted.

What follows is, initially, strained attempts at blasphemy serving alone as satire on Christianity, with a Christ-like figure smoking herb and making kissy-kissy with a limbless midget, and then happening upon a Christ factory (representing Christianity as a commercial product, in case you're slow). Following this, we see a reenactment of the Mexican revolution with a cast of frogs. After this display, our hero is led into the peak of a tower through a rainbow-colored corridor, where an alchemist locks him in a retort and his excrement is transformed into gold. Pelicans appear. The movie evolves again, this time into a satire on consumerism.

This initially striking feature becomes more grating as time wears on, and the juvenile tone of its satiric statement seriously compromises the power of its visual compositions. My heart sank as the film drifted further away from ambiguity and abstraction into the land of the cerebral and polemical. Jodorowsky is more suited for comic art and graphic novels than films, as the reconciliation between literal ideas and otherwise abstract images here is poor. Jod himself appears unmasked in the final scene, with a revelation that seems wrongheaded and smug.


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