The Holy Mountain

by tigermanifesto

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The Holy Mountain is the perfect film for 1972. All of the undigested psychedelia, religious mysticism, and Technicolor obscenity that failed to find a home in the 1960s explodes off the film’s frames. Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky begins his film on the streets of Mexico City, offering up a string of bizarre images including a reenactment of the conquest of Tenochtitlan (with frogs, naturally), boorish American tourists, Catholic fanatics, and a whole warehouse filled with papier-mâché replicas of Jesus. Though the setting often departs from Mexico, and is often undefined or utterly fantastical, it never leaves behind a peculiarly Latin American syncretism. Organically and often absurdly mixing spiritualities and symbols, the film is a rainbow-colored ode to the outrageous. Despite its often awed reverence for the mystical–the titular mountain is the site of a world-saving pilgrimage in the plot–it is also gleefully profane and anti-clerical, making it perhaps one of the most sincere religious films I’ve ever seen, though one could easily forget that while watching it.

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