Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo helped inaugurate the midnight movie phenomenon. Its success spawned The Holy Mountain, through interventions by John Lennon and Allen Klein. After a scandalous release and a 16-month midnight career, The Holy Mountain was relegated to the underground world of fan bootlegs for over thirty years until its limited restored release in 2007. This short study reveals how The Holy Mountain, a poetic, hilarious, and anarchist cult film by an international auteur, anchored in post-1968 critiques, is - at the same time - an archaeological capsule of the counterculture movement, a timely subversion of mystical tenets, and one of the most mysterious films in the history of world cinema.
Alessandra Santos is assistant professor at the University of British Columbia.