Saturday, September 26, 2009
La Montaña Sagrada (The Holy Mountain, reissued as The Sacred 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 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. However the film was never given wide release until 2007, when a restored print toured the United States, screening with El Topo, and released in DVD format from May 1.
The film is based on "The Ascent of Mt. Carmel" by St. John of the Cross and "Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing" by Rene Daumal, a student of G.I. Gurdjieff. In particular, much of Jodorowsky's visually psychedelic story follows the metaphysical thrust of "Mount Analogue" such as the climb to the Alchemist, the assembly of individuals with specific skills, the discovery of the mountain that unites Heaven and Earth "that cannot not exist" and symbolic challenges along the mountain ascent. Daumal died before finishing his allegorical novel, and Jodorowsky's improvised ending provides a clever way of completing the Work (symbolic and otherwise.)