The Holy Mountain (1973 film)
La Montaña Sagrada (The Holy Mountain, reissued as The Sacred Mountain) is a 1973 cult film directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. The film was produced by The Beatles manager Allen Klein of ABKCO Music and Records Inc., after Jodorowsky scored an underground phenomenon with El Topo and the acclaim of both John Lennon and George Harrison (Lennon and Yoko Ono put up production money).
Known for his artistic elaborations of the occult, Jodorowsky (Chilean, b. 1929) eschews conventional narrative and emphasizes a baroque visual landscape of psychic and metaphysical complexity, claiming in the film-he plays the character the Alchemist-that “we are images, dreams, photographs.” Also taking up the roles of composer, set designer, and costume designer, Jodorowsky oversaw all facets of The Holy Mountain‘s production to keep to his singular vision. Additionally, he immersed the actors and collaborators in months of preparatory spiritual exercises, testing the potential for cinema to engage with mysticism.
Jodorowsky’s film is a highly acclaimed absurdist and picaresque satire depicting the journey of a Christ-like figure, the Thief, to a symbolic mountain that is said to unite Heaven and Earth. Largely inspired by St. John of the Cross’s 16th-century writing The Ascent of Mount Carmel and René Daumal’s 1952 novel Mount Analogue, The Holy Mountain explores themes of capitalist production, militarism, death, rebirth, and the extramundane.
A Christlike figure wanders through bizarre, grotesque scenarios filled with religious and sacrilegious imagery. He meets a mystical guide who introduces him to seven wealthy and powerful individuals, each representing a planet in the solar system. These seven, along with the protagonist, the guide and the guide’s assistant, divest themselves of their worldly goods and form a group of nine who will seek out the Holy Mountain, in order to displace the gods who live there and become immortal.