Friday, August 29, 2008

The Holy Mountain, with commentary

I have been a fan of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky for a while now, and I was just given a box set of his recently remastered films. You may be familiar with his film The Holy Mountain, his "flood of sacrilegious imagery and existential symbolism is a spiritual quest for enlightenment pitting illusion against truth." The film involves alchemy, tarot, astrology, and the occult, to name a few things. Basically, it is a new age masterpiece. 

Just watching the film itself is mind blowing, but watching it with Jodorowsky's commentary makes it even better. Here are a few things I learned:

- The film was funded almost entirely by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and was produced by Beatles manager Allen Klein.
- George Harrison was originally on board to play the lead role, however he refused to participate in one particular scene where his anus is scrubbed on camera before having his excrement transformed into gold. I guess we all have our limits. 
- The film has hundreds of people in it, yet not one of them is a professional actor. 
- Throughout the film, several of the actors are tripping on LSD
- The majority of the footage was filmed in Mexico, however the Mexican government was so opposed to the production, they fled to New York, and then secretly back to Mexico to finish it.
- During one scene where a boy is being initiated into a nazi-like cult through castration, one actor who was tripping on LSD and holding shears heard the director yell CUT! for the end of the scene, and nearly chopped the poor boy's balls of in real life.
- Jodorowksy himself was nearly beheaded on accident in another scene, due to somebody holding a fake sling blade while tripping on acid.
- Toward the end of filming, the assistant producer stole the remaining funds and disappeared. He returned months later, apologetically, and the filming was resumed.
- It was a scandal at the 1973 cannes film festival. 
- The film was not released into wide circulation until it was remastered in 2007, which means for about thirty years it was hardly seen. 
- The central characters in the movie actually underwent three months of spiritual training, where they all shaved their heads and met with local shamans in the hills of Mexico.
- The central nine characters, along with the producer Allen Klein, were so upset with the ending of the movie that none of them would speak to Jodorowksy for years.

There is so much more. Must watch!

Here is a trailer, for those of you who have not seen it:


the xarlacc said...

yo i'm way interested in watching that! you wanna watch it again ?

Andepie said...

yo d, we should do a viewing party at the house. After watching the trailer I must and want to see it again.

I can't believe you are gonna be gone for Halloween - the costumes were gonna be so good this year.