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Author Topic: The Holy Mountain (1973)  (Read 6754 times)
Silenzio
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« on: September 07, 2007, 08:53:42 PM »




Surrealism, satire, spirituality, and sacrilege unify in Alejandro Jodrowsky's  ambitious companion piece to his western El Topo.


A recent interest in the surrealist artistic movement reinvigorated my desire to see this film, even though I was not especially impressed by El Topo.  I am EXTREMELY glad I did.  The film first follows a thief that resembles Jesus Christ who befriends a legless, armless midget and wanders through a city trying to collect money from tourists.  He eventually meets up with a universal guru known as "The Alchemist" who trains the Thief to become a master of his own soul.  The Thief and eight other people, each representing a planet of the solar system, are led by the Alchemist to scale the Holy Mountain and seek the secret to immortality.


Sounds pretentious.


It's not.  All the way from the beginning to the introduction of the astrological characters is near cinematic nirvana.  Almost any given shot or scene could be considered a masterpiece of Surrealistic art.  Unlike in El Topo, Jodrowsky now had the money to pay for sets of visual grandeur, each with a distinctive flair and poignant image.  There are some scenes, such as the frog circus and the Thief's training, that I am convinced will never go out of my mind.  Luckily, Alejandro also composed a great score to couple these fine images with.

The introduction of each astrological character comes with a serving of blatant satire.  There is absolutely no subtlety, yet it is still quite amusing.  Unfortunately, it seems Jodorowsky's stunning visuals are downplayed during these segments, and they suffer for it.  Even though the introductions are brief, they seem to drag at parts since there are eight of them.  This is one of the few faults i could find with the film.

Unfortunately, those segments are followed by another one of the lacking parts of the film, when the Alchemist trains the group to act as one entity.  I found the money burning scene excellent, and it takes place on an amazing set, but when they go to the Mayan-style pyramids, those scenes seem to drag a little as well.  The best part about these scenes was that they recalled the frog circus scene from the first act of the film.  This part of the movie wasn't bad, but it could have been better.

In the actual climbing of the Holy Mountain, the film returns, once again, to the excellence of the first act.  There is more social satire offered in the Pantheon Bar located at the bottom of the Holy Mountain, but i won't go into details.  The climbing was accompanied by surreal visuals that were as amazing as they were grotesque.  It all builds up to what I now consider one of the greatest endings in the history of cinema.




Before you run out and see this, just make sure what you're getting into.


Surrealism, as defined in Andre Breton's "The Surrealist Manifesto":

Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express . . . the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

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PowerRR
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 09:30:32 PM »

probly sux

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tucumcari bound
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 11:58:50 PM »

You make me want to see this Silenzio.

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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2007, 06:47:29 AM »

I liked Santa Sangre better.

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Silenzio
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2007, 10:10:55 AM »

I want to see Santa Sangre.

I know it's one of Sanjuro's favorites.



I watched most of this movie again this morning (with commentary), skipping only the introductions of the astrological character introductions.  This time I didn't find the group training scenes draggy or dull at all, i thought they were great.

But that might have just been because of the interesting commentary.

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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2007, 10:14:01 AM »

Does this review contain any spoilers? If not, then I'll read it to boost my interest in seeing the film.

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Silenzio
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2007, 10:17:08 AM »

It contains no spoilers.



Honestly, there isn't much to spoil aside from the FANTASTIC ending.

You'd have to experience it for yourself.

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Sonny
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2007, 04:22:49 PM »



It's on my queue..  Afro

I traded it for Army of Shadows, hope you're happy...  Grin

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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2007, 06:32:40 PM »

ARMY OF SHADOWS IS A MASTERPIECE.

You will not be disappointed by that one for sure.  Everything i've seen by Jean Pierre Melville was excellent.


You might be by the holy mountain.

I want to see what other people think of it.





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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2007, 02:53:25 PM »

ARMY OF SHADOWS IS A MASTERPIECE.

You will not be disappointed by that one for sure.  Everything i've seen by Jean Pierre Melville was excellent.



My fave of his is Belle de Jour.  I have not seen it in ages, but I love it.  For Some reason it reminds me of Truffaut's Jules and Jim, which I laos hold in high regards.  Afro



Holy Mountain looks like something completely different to any form of cinema.  And, indeed, very "grotti".  Grin

I saw this trailer of it... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyEIBdteBVQ


I love the tagline.. "Nothing in your life or previous education can have prepared you for this film..."



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Silenzio
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2007, 02:57:47 PM »




I love the tagline.. "Nothing in your life or previous education can have prepared you for this film..."




Indeed!!!!

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Noodles_SlowStir
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2007, 10:24:22 PM »

Belle De Jour is very good.  It's actually a film by Luis Bunuel.   

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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2007, 11:26:59 PM »

Belle De Jour is very good.  It's actually a film by Luis Bunuel.   

You're right!  Grin



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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2007, 08:39:50 AM »

This looks and sounds interesting but all Alejandro Jodorowsky's films I can find on DVD cost like 30 euros even without Finnish subs Lips Sealed


Fuck.

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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2007, 11:02:49 AM »

This looks and sounds interesting but all Alejandro Jodorowsky's films I can find on DVD cost like 30 euros even without Finnish subs Lips Sealed


Fuck.

Rent it if you can.  If not amazon has good prices.

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