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Film Reviews: The Holy Mountain (1973) and Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)
Movies
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The Holy Mountain (1973). Written and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. The film opens with two Marilyn Monroe look-a-likes either side of a man dressed in black in what appears to be some form of religious building. The man first strips the women of their make up and clothes, and then shaves their heads. The Holy Mountain is essentially 4-dimensional art, that is it consists of some staggeringly well made visual sequences that are open to the viewer, and perhaps it's less about the content and more about the visuals. I cannot think of a film I've seen which is closer to the description of moving art, so it's certainly a one-of-a-kind film. It's also only for those with strong stomachs and a lack of sensitivity as it contains all manner of very unpleasant, pornographic, and surreal imagery, everything from boys with green painted genitalia to prostitutes hand-in-hand with chimps, and believe me that's just a fraction of the content. I don't profess to understand much of it aside from the minimal narrative, and I'm not sure many will be able to, but perhaps that's not the point, it's simply the fascinating nature of the imagery. The narrative takes over towards the end, although that wasn't to the film's benefit in my opinion. Ultimately though how do you end a film like this? Overall I did enjoy the film for the concept, visuals, and effort made in production, but I suspect I'm in the minority. For those who like mindfuck films, this has to be the father of them all. 4/5 (Good)

Jodorowsky's Dune (2013). Directed by Frank Pavich. Jodorowsky's Dune is a documentary about the 1970s film-that-never-was, a version of the Frank Herbert's book Dune, adapted and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Certainly for films I enjoy I often like to know a lot more about the process that led to them being made, and the production itself. This documentary does an incredible job of that, even if this is a film that was never made. It has lashings of interviews from all those involved, including Chris Foss and HR Giger, and the bulk thankfully with Jodorowsky himself. No doubt like most people who have watched this I'm left with a profound disappointment that the film wasn't made, although clearly no-one's disappointment could ever be as profound as Jodorowsky's. It certainly corrected what I thought were some facts about the film e.g. that it went over budget. In reality they didn't get as far as studio finance, because no (Hollywood) studio would finance them, despite some incredible preparatory work (including having his 12-year old son trained in martial arts 7 days a week for 2 years so he could play Paul Atreides). The documentary also points out the path it laid for films that did get made e.g. Alien. Could these films have been made, at least to the same level, without Jodorowsky? Probably not, not forgetting that Jodorowsky brought together Foss, Giger, and Dan O'Bannon. Ultimately, could Jodorowsky's Dune have ever been made, allowing for all the craziness required? Perhaps. Jodorowsky seems to have a good track record for finishing off what he starts, even though this would have been an epic task, and you have to question whether it would have kept to budget. What is clear is that Jodorowsky has filmmaking passion in spades, what a shame it is that most of the industry doesn't. My only real concern about the film is whether it would have done the book justice, as Jodorowsky made a number of changes, including a significant rewrite of the ending. Jodorowsky himself said, to paraphrase a little, that he raped Frank Herbert's book as all filmmakers must do with a novel. How does this rate as entertainment? I was transfixed by the whole documentary, and clearly it's recommended for anyone with the slightest interest in the topic. 5/5 (Excellent)
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