A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the ... See full summary »
Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in 1929 in Tocopilla, a coastal town on the edge of the Chilean desert where this film was shot. It was there that Jodorowsky underwent an unhappy and ... See full summary »
The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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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