A Mexican master leads a Christ figure and other disciples to a mountain of immortal wise men. The scandal of the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s flood of sacrilegious imagery and existential symbolism in The Holy Mountain is a spiritual quest for enlightenment pitting illusion against truth. The Alchemist (Jodorowsky) assembles together a group of people from all walks of life to represent the planets in the solar system. The occult adept’s intention is to put his recruits through strange mystical rites and divest them of their worldly baggage before embarking on a trip to Lotus Island. There they ascend the Holy Mountain to displace the immortal gods who secretly rule the universe.
A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the arms of his mother, a religious fanatic and leader of the heretical church of Santa Sangre (“Holy Blood”), and then commit suicide. Back in the present, he escapes and rejoins his surviving and armless mother.
A portrait of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s young adulthood, set in the 1940s and 50s, in the electric capital city of Santiago. There, he decides to become a poet and is introduced, by destiny, into the foremost bohemian and artistic circle of the time.
“Having broken away from my illusory self, I was desperately seeking a path and a meaning to life.” This phrase perfectly sums up Alejandro Jodorowsky’s biographical project: reconstituting the incredible adventure of his life. Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in 1929 in Tocopilla, a coastal town on edge of the Chilean desert, where this film was shot. It was there where he discovered the fundamentals of reality, as he underwent an unhappy and alienated childhood as part of an uprooted family.