Feb 15 2011

Getting your mind bent

I’ve been spending the past few weeks watching, in small doses, a few select films by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Here’s a trailer for one of his better-known movies, The Holy Mountain.

Jorodowsky’s an odd bird of a director. I’m still not entirely sure, after watching a lot of behind-the-scenes content and interviews that he isn’t (or wasn’t) a cult leader with a camera. He’s certainly one of those many artists who’s unstoppably creative, and whatever he produces always seems to carry similar themes from multiple blended religions and a heavy sampling of Eastern mysticism.

I’m not a stranger to Eastern philosophy, so his movies don’t seem to destroy my brain in some dream-like cacophony like other people seem to experience.  And if I can levy any complains against Jorodowsky’s philosophy, it’s the same objection I hold towards Neon Genesis Evangelion: symbolism from multiple, conflicting religions is fine, so long as the symbols stay consistent within the piece, which they often don’t.

For the most part, Jorodowsky’s Holy Mountain is a messy accumulation of incredibly compelling and beautiful images, and it’s easier to experience it if you consider it to be a proposal of concepts, not an actual tale of fiction. But Jorodowsky’s considerable ability as a storyteller is easier to find in his other movies, such as El Topo and Santa Sangre, both of which I’d recommend without hesitation.

Unfortunately regular doses of this kind of cinema has sort of curdled my brains a little, and now nearly everything I watch has become colored by an unintended illusory subtext.  When I found myself trying to decrypt the Buddhist concepts of living without fear of loss from an episode of Good Eats, I knew it was time to give this kind of thing a break.

So I decided to relax with a good old wuxia flick, and picked up the Shaw Brothers’ production of Buddha’s Palm.

I think somehow I’ve made a bad decision.