The Holy Mountain, Blu-ray (1973/2014)

The Holy Mountain, Blu-ray (1973/2014)

Director: Alejando Jodorowsky
Cast: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Horacio Salinas, Zamira Saunders
Studio: ABKCO 1032-9 [7/7/14]
Video: 2.35:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DD 5.1 & 2.0
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French
Extras: Commentary track by Jodorowsky, Subtitled features, Bonus material, Commentary tracks, Video interview with Jodorowsky, Theatrical trailer, Photo gallery, Excerpts of original script
Length: 116 min.
Rating: ****

This is sort of Jodorwsky’s sequel to El Topo, and the two films created the American Midnight Movie phenomenon and made its creator into a counterculture icon. The Holy Mountain drove the 1973 Cannes Festival wild. Its sacrilegious imagery and existential symbolism excoriates every possible spiritual area: religion in general (especially Catholicism), Judaism, New Agers, psychydelic counterculture, Eastern, you name it. That’s why it made so many people mad and definitely will not appeal to all viewers. It is supposedly the result of Jodorwsky’s experiences in Vietnam. The painful mystical journey of the film does not use the seemingly subtle anti-Catholic touches of Italian and Spanish directors, but loses all good taste in a frantic frontal attack on all religions.

Some of this can be passed off as just about what you’d expect from a demented filmmaker in Mexico, including plenty of blood, guts and more. But it’s a haunting movie too, that throws out all restrictions imaginable, and you may never forget some of its scenes. The section about the businesses of the various characters from different planets falls rather flat, but the rest of the crazy proceedings are really something. It’s quite different from the loveable older Jodorowsky in the wonderful documentary on his great would-be film of Herbert’s Dune.

There’s no middle ground – you’ll probably either love it or hate it. The 2K Blu-ray transfers of both films are terrific and greatly improved over what was available before.

—John Sunier

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