Holy Mountain is a 1973 cult film directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky who also participated as actor, composer, set designer, and costume designer. The film was produced by The Beatles manager Allen Klein of ABKCO 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). It was shown at various international film festivals in 1973, including Cannes, and limited screenings in New York and San Francisco.
Read "I Watched 'The Holy Mountain' with My Mum" by Blake Butler
Electric Sheep Review is interesting and here is an excerpt:
"Many reviewers of The Holy Mountain have thrown up their hands in dismay at its lack of unified narrative but this is merely indicative of an end-obsessed culture with an infantile craving for punishment and reward served up for years by an impoverished cinematic diet of suspense and delay. I remember the American avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage explaining this was one reason he dispensed with his camera altogether and began making films just by manipulating the film stock and running it through the projector. And anyway there is narrative in The Holy Mountain if you want it and plenty of it if you really do want it that badly. Its prologue (also the title sequence) might have caused some of this anxiety. In it a black-clad figure, possibly a High Priest, ritually washes and shaves the heads of two blonde women over the soundtrack of chanting Tibetan monks. This ‘scene’ however is broken into by a series of static abstract arrangements of arcane imagery (eyeballs, peacock feathers, pearls, a snake, a Magritte-like vignette of recumbent statues above a cocooned butterfly) much of it in a striking palette of blues and greens. What to do with all this? The bringing together of a pearl and an eye reminds us of Ariel’s speech from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: ‘Those were pearls that were his eyes’ says the spirit of Ferdinand’s drowned father; ‘Of his bones are coral made…/Nothing of him that doth fade/But doth suffer a sea-change/Into something rich and strange.’ I can think of no two better words than ‘rich’ and ‘strange’ to describe much of The Holy Mountain, which like the drowned man is also about the magic of transformation. In effect the prologue offers up a series of images through which we are invited to view the rest of the film and thematically metamorphosis is a central preoccupation of much that follows."
Stills from the movie
"The follow-up to his Midnight Movie sensation El Topo, writer-director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN caused a scandal at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival with its flood of sacrilegious imagery, existential symbolism and outrageous violence. Once again, Jodorowsky plays the allegorically named lead, “The Alchemist,” who assembles a group of people from all walks of life and renames them for the planets in the solar system. Putting his recruits through strange mystical rites and divesting them of their worldly baggage, he leads them on a trip to Lotus Island to ascend the Holy Mountain and displace the immortal gods who secretly rule the universe."