Having distributed El Topo to cult success in the United States, former Beatles lawyer Allen Klein co-produced Jodorowsky's more lavishly funded follow-up, in which the Chilean maverick unleashes wave after wave of religious symbolism, would-be spiritual gobbledygook and violently surreal imagery (memorably, small birds emerging from gunshot wounds). The connecting narrative, broadly, involves a Christ figure seeking enlightenment under the tutelage of 'The Alchemist' (Jodorowsky himself, in flowing robes and very tall hat), as a group of astrologically significant individuals set out to scale the legendary Holy Mountain and replace the all-powerful beings residing on its peak. With Jodorowsky's meaning somewhat opaque, it's slightly tedious going, but you certainly get plenty to look at, what with costumed frogs and lizards re-enacting the conquest of Mexico, the plucky armless dwarf, and (don't snigger) the scene where the protagonist has his excreta distilled while a naked woman plays cello and a pelican lurks portentously in the background. We will not see its like again.
The Holy Mountain
Cast and crew