On it’s own, the Holy Mountain is a surreal film.
One of the founders of the ‘Panic Movement’, along with Fernando Arrabel and Roland Topor, Jodorowsky was no stranger to confrontational imagery and any restraint he had shown in El Topo was left by the roadside when he filmed The Holy Mountain. The saturation of brutal, sacred, visceral, esoteric imagery comes hard and fast as the characters, representing Planetary archetypes, are introduced and the plot is laid out.
Somehow, seeing the Holy Mountain at NYC’s MoMA on Halloween ended up exponentially more surreal than the film itself. Once impossible to find, Jodorowsky’s films are now readily available (El Topo was briefly carried by the Target chain) and appreciated by a much more diverse audience.
It wasn’t really a surprise to see ‘cultural engineer’ Genesis Breyer P-Orridge milling around in the MoMA lobby; for that matter Kembra Pfahler didn’t really seem out of place at a Jodorowsky showing. But the appearance of (the admittedly radiant) Martha Stewart upped the odd quotient and sort of made the night blissfully off kilter.
Add to that (and a trainwreck Courtney Love, Yoko Ono and Willem Defoe) it being Halloween night and the audience peppered with people in costumes… much more memorable than my last Jodorowsky attended screening.
As for the film, it totally holds up. More than that, I noticed things this showing that I had never noticed before; symbolism that I had missed on (so many) previous viewings. Jodorowsky was charming as always though his accent was thicker than I remember and trying to keep up with him during the Q&A had it’s moments.
There were no great revelations; he casually mentioned shooting a new film in his hometown of Tocopilla (Devil’s Corner) Chile next year but the subject was changed before he could let any details slip. He did an impromptu Tarot reading for an audience member without using cards (“call out a number”) Most of all, he charmed almost everyone in attendance.
My only regret was that I didn’t get a chance to ask (the admittedly radiant) Martha Stewart what she thought of the film.
Thanks again to Jenni for arranging the tickets and enjoying the film with me for a second time.