Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Holy Mountain

Some works of art has such power that you will never be the same again after seeing/hearing/feeling them. Jodorowskys Holy Mountain is just such a piece of art. Comparable with your first sexual experience, first reading of The Illuminatus! Trilogy or your first mindblowing psychedelic trip.

The Holy Mountain (1973 film)

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The Holy Mountain

Film poster
Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Produced by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Allen Klein
Robert Taicher
Roberto Viskin
Written by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Starring Alejandro Jodorowsky
Horacio Salinas
Zamira Saunders
Music by Don Cherry
Ronald Frangipane
Alejandro Jodorowsky
Cinematography Rafael Corkidi
Editing by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Federico Landeros
Distributed by ABKCO (Allen & Betty Klein and Company) Films Inc.
Release date(s) 1973
Running time 114 min.
Language English/Spanish
Budget $750,000 (estimated)
La Montaña Sagrada (The Holy Mountain, reissued as The Sacred Mountain) is a 1973cult film directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky who also participated as actor, composer, set designer, and costume designer. The film was produced by The Beatles manager Allen KleinEl Topo and the acclaim of both John Lennon and George Harrison (Lennon and Yoko Ono put up production money). It was shown at various international film festivals in 1973, including Cannes,[1] and limited screenings in New York and San Francisco. However the film was never given wide release until 2007, when a restored print toured the United States, screening with El Topo, and released in DVD format from May 1. The film contains nudity, graphic depictions of animal slaughter and gore.[2] of ABKCO after Jodorowsky scored an underground phenomenon with



[edit] Inspiration

The film is based on "Ascent of Mount Carmel" by St. John of the Cross and "Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing" by Rene Daumal, a student of G.I. Gurdjieff. In particular, much of Jodorowsky's visually psychedelic story follows the metaphysical thrust of "Mount Analogue" such as the climb to the Alchemist, the assembly of individuals with specific skills, the discovery of the mountain that unites Heaven and Earth "that cannot not exist" and symbolic challenges along the mountain ascent. Daumal died before finishing his allegorical novel, and Jodorowsky's improvised ending provides a clever way of completing the Work (symbolic and otherwise.)

[edit] Preparation

The central members of the cast were said to have spent 3 months doing various spiritual exercises guided by Oscar Ichazo of the Arica Institute. The Arica training features Zen, Sufiyoga exercises along with eclectic concepts drawn from the Kabbalah, the I Ching and the teachings of Gurdjieff. After the training, the group lived for one month communally in Jodorowsky's home before shooting began. and
Jodorowsky was also instructed by Ichazo to take LSD for the purpose of spiritual exploration, and he administered psilocybin mushrooms to his actors during the shooting of the death-rebirth scene[3].

[edit] Plot

A man (later identified as a thief) representing The Fool, a tarot card typically depicting a young man stepping off a cliff, lies on the ground with flies covering his face like excrement. He is befriended by a footless, handless dwarf (representing the five of swords: defeat) and goes into a city to make money from tourists. The thief's resemblance to Christ inspires some to use his likeness for the crucifixes that they sell by casting an impression of his face and body. After a dispute with a priest who rejects the thief's likeness of himself, the thief eats off the face of his wax statue and sends it skyward with balloons, symbolically eating the body of Christ and offering "himself" up to heaven. Soon after, he notices a crowd gathered around a large tower, where a large hook with a bag of gold has been sent down in exchange for food. The thief, wishing to find the source of the gold, ascends the tower; finding the alchemist (played by Jodorowsky).
After a confrontation with the alchemist, the thief defecates into a container. The excrement is transformed into gold by the alchemist who proclaims: "You are excrement. You can change yourself into gold." The thief is introduced to seven people who are said to be the most powerful but who, like the thief, are mortal. They are related to the planets in astrological terms and portrayed with broad-brush satire, each personifying the worst aspects of his or her planet's supposed characteristics. The seven consist of: a cosmetics manufacturer, a weapons manufacturer, a millionaire art dealer, a war toy maker, a political financial adviser, a police chief and an architect. They are gathered together by the alchemist who instructs them to burn their money and wax images of themselves.
After several scenes wherein the characters are led by the alchemist through several death/rebirth rituals, they all journey to Lotus Island to gain the secret of immortality from nine immortal masters who live on a holy mountain. Once on Lotus Island they are sidetracked by the "Pantheon Bar", a cemetery party where people have abandoned their quest for the holy mountain and instead engage in drugs, poetry or acts of physical prowess. Leaving the bar behind, they ascend the mountain and each have personal symbolic visions representing each characters worst fears and obsessions. Near the top, the thief is sent back to his "people" along with a young prostitute and an ape who has followed him to the mountain. The rest confront the cloaked immortals who are shown to be only faceless dummies. The alchemist then reveals the film apparatus just outside the frame (cameras, microphone, lights and crew) and instructs everyone (including the audience for the film) to leave the holy mountain. "Real life awaits us," he says, and the movie ends.

[edit] Popular culture references

The Holy Mountain is referenced in the following works:
  • The music video for Marilyn Manson's song, The Dope Show, features a direct homage to the sequence involving the destruction of plaster casts of the main character's body in a crucifixion pose.
  • The music video for Santigold's L.E.S. Artistes is a homage to The Holy Mountain. Reproducing the crowd execution scenes where blood and guts are replaced by other items.
  • The opening track on experimental rock group Man Man's album The Man in a Blue Turban with a Face, is named after a comic book in the film called "Captain Captain Against the Peruvian Monster."
  • The scene in which money is pushed into the fire in the center of a round table, and the scene in which the adventurers stand on the top of the temple, are referenced in the music video for Time to Pretend by MGMT.
  • The film is referenced in the lyrics of the Max Tundra song "Until We Die".
  • The opening scene of the film is referenced in the music video for Late of the Pier's song "Heartbeat".
  • A quote from the film appears at the end of the track "Wising Up" by Misty's Big Adventure on their album The Black Hole.
  • Samples from the film appear in the track "Help Wanted" by Company Flow on their album Funcrusher Plus.
  • A portion of the alchemist's speech in used in the song "Razorblade Salvation" by Jedi Mind Tricks.
  • Erykah Badu is depicted as one of the movies characters on her album cover "New Amerykah, Part 2: Return of the Anhk"
  • In a live version of the song "The Capillarian Crest" by Mastodon, voice samples from "The Holy Mountain" are used as an intro.[4]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Holy Mountain". festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/2309/year/1973.html. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  2. ^ Vice, Jeff. Movie review: Holy Mountain, The. Deseret News. 13 July 2007.
  3. ^ Jodorowsky's audio commentary on the Anchor Bay DVD of The Holy Mountain
  4. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0xvTglyjV0

[edit] External links


Film Review

In case you didn't know, Alejandro Jodorowsky often makes religious films. But not the type of religious films you might expect. What he does is throw in the likes of Zen, Astrology, Catholicism, Taoism, Judaism, Buddhism, and various mystic beliefs into a blender and the result is an unforgettable motion picture like this.
The film begins showing the time of "The Thief" (Horácio Salinas) and his experiences on earth. And since he resembles Jesus Christ, perhaps it's just a metaphor of the life and times of the son of God (Afterall, we see him "Crucified, destroying a temple, and gaining followers") Soon, The Theif is baited (Literally) after his lust for gold and taken into the realm of Morpheu...I mean, The Alchemist! Here, The Alchemist (Played by Jodorowsky) re-awakens The Thief and grants him new life to take place in gaining immortality. The Alchemist's plan is to recruit members from the 9 planets and overthrow the immortals who reside in "The Holy Mountain". Among the recruits:
VENUS-Producer of beauty products
URANUS-Computer Technician (And this was 30 years before the internet)
MARS-Lesbian who's a creator of religious weaponry
MERCURY-Mute Nubian who only wears nothing but the tattooed symbols of Earth's religions (The symbol of Mercury on her earrings could be the giveaway)
JUPITER-Millionaire artist
SATURN-Inhabitor (Or perhaps, deciever?) of better places for children and the elderly
NEPTUNE-Mohawked Warlord Fascist
PLUTO-Architect (And possible pedophile)
In order for his plan to be successful, The Alchemist must unite all the participants and undergo inner and physical testing to become one collective being and one step closer to immortality. Will it work?
As with Jodorowsky's movies, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN succeeds in becoming another astonishing visual treat. The voiceover on his trailers often say that you'll be both revolted and enchanted by the imagery of what's put on display in his movies and this manages to be another great example. Many of the "Testing" scenes towards the final act can't help but to grab your attention since sequences like this just aren't seen in hundreds of other movies you'll come across. And even though some might consider the "Twist ending" to be a cheat, In my eyes, Jodorowsky managed to "awaken" me both in a spiritual way and for the love of artistic cinema.
Reviewed by Laydback - 9/22/07

Brilliant articles about Holy Mountain: 


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