Friday, May 16, 2008

Go Tell It On The Mountain

The Holy Mountain(1973)

Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky

This is the Alejandro Jodorowsky film not the old silent one about mountain climbing(It can get confusing if your looking around for this online), anyway this film had pretty much everything I wanted out of a movie.

Every frame is visually engaging, it's easily one of the most visually dense films I've ever seen, but not in an elliptic David Lynch way, these are symbols, not emblems, and they represent ideas not included in the film as opposed to representing ideas in the film, simple right? It's a pinnacle merger of surrealism, satire, philosophy, and science fiction. The sets, the images and the story itself blow me away, and the ideas though chaotic at first flow together not seamlessly, but in a New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade kind of way, confused, drunk, and many limbed, but all ambling in the same general direction, a conclusion which breaks "the fourth wall" in more ways than one.The story and I will it keep as simple as possible, is about a wondering thief, who meets an alchemist and joins with this group of the 9 wealthiest people on Earth; the lords of Industry who secretly control the material earth, each named after a different planet in the Solar System, like the Pantheon Roman Gods. These 9 want to become Immortal by stealing the Immortality from the 9 Immortal Men who sit on the Holy Mountain and truly rule the world in secret.What follows is a spiritual, psychological, and if you hadn't guessed it yet, surreal journey of enlightenment.

This is not a druggie film with no plot and a bunch of crazy stuff, it might appear that way if you view it on drugs which completely incapacitate thought, or with no attempt to think and deliberate (which understandably is not everyone's cup of tea) about what appears on the screen after it's gone, but the film is actually quite complex, if anything too complex.
Jodorowsky is weaving together a lot of esoteric threads and symbols (the first scene is the Japanese Tea Ceremony, but you wouldn't know it unless you knew, someone else pointed it out to me, after about my fifth viewing) together to tell a quite simple story about the various ways we( and the contemporary audience of the 70's) attempt to escape death.
If you interested in watching a gifted film maker at the height of his game paint a truly unique portrait of the world, look no further. John Lenin and Yoko Ono financed this film, which at the time it was made, was the highest budgeted film ever made in Mexico. Looking at some of the set designs and the armies of extras it's easy to see where the money went. If you want something truly bizarre and different because you've seen everything, see it. If you don't care much for symbolism, allegory, or metaphor, avoid this at all costs, there is no realism here, but there is brilliance, and I don't use that word lightly.

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