THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, d. Alejandro Jodorowsky (1973)
‘The Holy Mountain’ was filmed in Mexico, but the brutal police force / army depicted brings to mind the contemporaneous horror of Pinochet’s Chile or, of course, the dark pomp and pseudo-occult ceremony of the Third Reich.
The police here parade through the city centre carrying the flayed carcasses of crucified goats; transport lorry loads of corpses down the main streets; they carry out public executions in front of tourists, mowing down groups of students with short bursts of rifle fire. These sudden deaths are rather beautiful, as Jodorowsky has the victims bleed dark ink, or brightly coloured paint, or have tiny, pretty birds flutter out through the holes the bullets have left.
Later on, the Policemen gather at a dance hall and, still armed and wearing gas masks, waltz with mustachioed local men to melancholy music. It is a relatively tender moment in a film of great savagery, but one that may still end in a massacre.