Director Alejandro Jodorowsky is a Chilean descendant of Russian-Polish circus artists. He is known as a master of surrealistic, avant-garde and absurd art, whose contribution to cinema is comparable with that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to literature. ‘The Holy Mountain’, his most famous film, took part in the competition programme of the Cannes Festival in its year of release (1973), and in 2016, a restored festival copy was made for screening as part of the retrospective programme in Locarno. Over the years, the film has become a recognized world classic. This screening, part of the Otkritie x Strelka Film Festival, is a unique opportunity to see the film on the big screen.
The protagonist of the film, who resembles Jesus, meets the Alchemist, who is played by the director himself (Jodorowsky went on a starvation diet for a week before filming and was given a course of lectures by Zen masters for the role). Together with seven other followers of the Alchemist, the main character goes to the Holy Mountain to learn the secret of immortality from the sages. However, the plot of this film is of little importance; it is much more interesting to observe its bright surreal visions.
‘The Holy Mountain’ is a modern and shocking variation on the themes of ancient legends, beliefs, and rituals; it is a provocative rethinking of religious dogmas and moral precepts. Each episode of the film brings a new wave of absurdity, going far beyond the traditional understanding of cinema, theater or any other visual art. Allen Klein, manager of the Beatles, was a producer of ‘The Holy Mountain’, and John Lennon personally sponsored the making of the movie.
The screening of the film is being held as part of the Second International Otkritie x Strelka Film Festival, supported by Otkritie Bank and MasterCard. The programme includes Russian and Moscow premieres of films from different countries selected by curator Stas Tyrkin. Winners of and participants in international competitions, including festivals in Cannes and Toronto, as well as the Russian Kinotavr and Dvijenie festivals, will be presented in a series of ten film screenings.
The curator of the film festival is Stas Tyrkin: film critic, member of the Moscow International Film Festival selection committee, program director of the Dvijenie festival and curator of the cinema course at the Gogol Center.
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