Alexandro Jodorowsky and the overhead shot

Some beautiful screen grabs from Alexandro Jodorowsky’s mescaline-inspired The Holy Mountain (1973).  Jodorowsky became a cult icon after the release of his first film, the acid Western El Topo (1970), which drew crowds of stoners when it played midnight showings in New York.  Jodorowsky’s movies make you feel like you’re on drugs even when you’re not, and there are some remarkable images in The Holy Mountain—things you’ve never seen before in a movie, and many that you hope never to see again.  

I was on board with the movie until about halfway through, when it starts to get preachy and spouts out a lot of New Age blather.  Then, during the end credits, I saw perhaps the most shocking thing of all—more shocking than the naked man covered in tarantulas, or the young boy being castrated as part of a sacrificial rite, or the man chewing on the face of a wet plaster statue of Jesus:

According to IMDb, that’s the same Howard Lester who is now the chair of the School of Film and Animation at Rochester Institute of Technology, where I spent one disastrous semester some years ago in my attempt to learn filmmaking.  I recall Lester being a very sweet and affable man.  I had no idea that he listed this as one of his credits, but I do recall him saying once that film is such a powerful medium that it can inspire laughter, tears, fear, and even nausea; perhaps he learned something about nausea from working with Jodorowsky?      

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