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Film recommendation of the month: Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain
(1973). Still haven't seen his El Topo
(unless multiple viewings of Greaser's Palace
counts) but it just moved up my list. Mountain
is the ultimate artist's movie--a staggering amount of work went into sets, costumes and props that are seen briefly and never again. Contentwise it fits the Alfred Jarry transgressive mold--much nudity, violence and swipes at church pieties. But it also parodies new age seekers of wisdom--the characters who announce their occupations and planets ("My planet is Uranus" etc) in a series of brilliant mini-biographies that are the heart of the movie. Their goal is to ascend the Holy Mountain with their mysterious guide The Alchemist (played by Jodorowsky) and displace the Nine Immortals--cowled figures sitting at a table like figures from Dali's Last Supper. The first 20 minutes or so of the movie presents a completely plotless succession of absurdist activities and tableaux, such as the "Toad and Chameleon theatre" featuring those critters dressed as soldiers and clerics, flipping around a tabletop in a chaotic "holy war." The rest veers between Bunuel (and occasionally Monty Python) surrealism and a kind of "60s swingers" vibe of polymorphous sexual antics, constantly changing course and subverting itself. Completely refreshing, and very likely something that could only have been made in the early '70s, before religious scolds of every denomination achieved a stranglehold on our discourse.