Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Holy Mountain: Jodorowsky, Armless Midget Lover? I Think So

Well, it finally happened. I threw away my tax forms from when I was 15. And also, I found a film that is weirder than Hausu. I didn't believe it either at first, after all what purpose does a tax return filed in 2001 really serve, but there you have it. By the way, The Holy Mountain? What the fuck? This is The Cremaster Cycle times infinity. This is a film that should be banned because it might cause your face to be stuck in the "I'm so confused it hurts" position forever. I'm serious. I literally have a headache from squinting, shaking my head and saying "WOW" out loud for 1 hour and 50 something minutes. The wow is in capitals because it's a Tuesday.

Hopefully it goes without saying that all this craziness, and weirdness, all this nakedness and all these oddities are in fact what make The Holy Mountain a must see. I must warn you though---The Holy Mountain requires you to mostly submit to pure aesthetic.

The understanding will come later (Although in most of our cases it is doubtful that it will ever come), but there's no point in avoiding the fact that what we have here is art. Of course this "must see" status applies only to those of you that are enthralled by weirdness and massively cool and bizarre images on screen. It is not a horror movie, but that doesn't mean that it won't completely mess you up--in either a good or bad way depending on your age and race. (That's a joke!)

While my last experience with an Alejandro Jodorowsky film filled me with immense inspiration and divine awesomeness, The Holy Mountain fills me mostly with a sense of despair. The kind of despair that is only achieved by seeing a man poop in a glass jar and having that poop turn into gold before your very eyes. What is The Holy Mountain about? I have no idea and I'm pretty sure that nobody knows (By the way, if you tell me that you know and understand what this film is about, I will assume that you are a liar and that you cannot be trusted. I will also eat your baby should you ever have one).

As far as I can tell, The Holy Mountain is about a guy who looks like Jesus, that rides a big fishing hook up to a tower where Alejandro Jodorowsky lives. Jesus becomes his apprentice and meets several important people that represent planets and weird things. These people and Jesus then journey to The Holy Mountain to find out something important. That's all I got. Read a summary if you feel cheated and believe me, you'll still be confused.

Although the story is I assume important in some way, for me the main draw of The Holy Mountain is the imagery. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I wanted to take a screen grab of everything. As you look at these screen grabs that I have captured, I think you will get an understanding of the kind of film The Holy Mountain is. A fucking weird and awesome one. It's important to note here also that I would classify The Holy Mountain as a disturbing film. Remember the true definition of "disturbed" and you'll understand why. The things that you see in The Holy Mountain are things that you will probably never see again in your life--but you will never forget them. These things, sometimes flashes, sometimes long drawn out shots of colors and exact meticulous positioning, will stick with you as you're trying to fall asleep. They'll stick with you during times of sadness and happiness. Times of agony and times of fear.

But why should I tell you about these things when you can find them out for yourself? JUST LIKE THE HOLY MOUNTAIN. It's true though. Why would you listen to someone tell you about how a monkey shows up at one point wearing a sweatshirt taken from the closet of A.C Slater, when you could see it for yourself?

Why listen to someone try to explain the genius of a full spectrum rainbow

or a room filled with testicles in little glass jars,

or a penis ice sculpture,

or a woman bleeding strawberries,

or a really tall toilet,

or a frog circus that turns into a terrifying frog massacre/volcano explosion? Exactly.

I could go on and on and on about what I just saw and how it's the most fucked up and crazy thing I've ever seen, but you won't care. You'll laugh and say, "Oh ha ha yes Andre that is very funny....BUT SHOULD I WATCH IT?"

I have no answer for you. Should you feel compelled to someday watch The Holy Mountain, then I will shake your hand. The Holy Mountain is not for everyone, that much is proven---but those of us who can appreciate the fine art of well....art, it just might be for us. Jodorowsky is a filmmaker that continues to mess with my head. My creative juices continue to be depleted after watching his films because I simply cannot turn my brain off.

I have no fucking clue what The Holy Mountain is about nor do I care. And that my friends, is awesome. But don't blame me if you watch it and then can't look at a chicken, a frog, wax, flies, a tiger, gumballs, poop, or a green penis for years.


Thomas Duke said...

I recently came up with my top 30 favorite films list, and both Holy Mountain and House made the cut! It should come as no surprise that I am currently wearing my pants on my head.

Great job Andre, especially considering Holy Mountain has to be the most difficult movie to review in the history of the world.

mwilliams1220 said...

The Holy Mountain is a complex metaphor for the Vietnam War. Or, er, the relationship between the artist and the audience. No, wait, it is an homage to Antonin Artaud. Seriously, it is about Jodorowsky's struggle with gingivitis.

Screw it, I am a liar, please eat my children.

B.STANK said...

Well, that about says it all...great review!

I wish I saw this back in my ganja & hallucinogenic period of my life, although I probably would've wound up in a rubber room. The first five minutes is more disturbing than most of the movies I've ever seen!

While I prefer Santa Sangre & El Topo, there's no denying this film's amazing and completely insane imagery.

Christine Hadden said...

That trailer pretty much seems to sum it up. Fucking weird. Not sure I could sit through this one so I'll have to just take your word for it that it's awesome.
Oh, and that toilet - gotta get me one of those!!

Pearce said...

I was lucky enough to see this in a packed theatre with hundreds of sleep-deprived maniacs who'd already sat through about twelve straight hours of demented exploitation movies such as Lady Terminator, and it left everyone completely dumbfounded.

As for what it's all about, it probably helps to know that when not directing movies Alejandro Jodorowsky is a spiritual guru. The Holy Mountain was his attempt to communicate a spiritual experience through a movie. On the dvd commentary, he explains the significance of just about everything - almost every image means something very specific.

As flaky as some of his ideas turn out to be, I'd much rather Jodorowsky's idea of a spiritual movie than Mel Gibson's.

Andre Dumas said...

I'm going to eat your baby Pearce!

Pearce said...

I actually arranged to trade my first-born for some muffins some years ago... Are you okay with waiting for baby #2? I promise the second one will be the plumper and juicier one.

Paulo said...

The Holy Mountain is a movie about the alchemical work, in which man strives to better himself on a path of oneness with God (hence the metaphorical idea of immortality). He learns how to build his soul through the tarot, transmutes shit into gold (himself) and works to finding the hidden stone within himself (philosopher's stone). The woman that goes after him symbolizes love, accompanied by the hardships of a semi-animalistic life (the monkey which holds her hand).

Jesus is turned into a product. The past, as an illusion that doesn't go far away from our brains, is represented as a memberless, mute midget, to represente it's uselessness. The mountain to be climbed represents the self to be overcome, and letting go of that which is left "down there"(lower realms).

It's a beautifully symbolic work. It works with the analogies of spiritual traditions of all ages in relation to today's time. One of the best movies I watched, to be honest. But it is hard to understand unless you have the wit to catch the symbolism.