EMPAC’s Shadow Play returns with Jodorowsky’s 1973 film “Holy Mountain”

The Holy Mountain – La Montana Sagrada from chimbe perro on Vimeo.

Troy, NY — The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announces the return of the Shadow Play screening series with Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 cult film, Holy Mountain. The screening will take place in EMPAC’s theater on Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 PM.

Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain sparked a riot at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973 and has been the source of controversy ever since. The film creates an uncompromising vision of the rituals and power of religion and Western desires for Eastern spirituality through beautiful, fantastic, and visceral images. Inspired by St. John of the Cross’ Ascent of Mount Carmel and René Daumal’s Mount Analogue, it depicts a group of individuals on a quest for enlightenment and immortality through a journey to a holy mountain that is said to unite heaven and earth.

Scene from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 cult film, Holy Mountain.

Scene from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 cult film, Holy Mountain.

A catalytic figure within cinema, Alejandro Jodorowsky is a Chilean-French filmmaker, playwright, actor, and author. After entering the theater at an early age, Jodorowsky eventually enrolled at the University of Chile, where he developed an interest in puppetry, poetry, and mime. His first film, Fando Y Lis provoked a riot in Mexico at its debut at the 1968 Acapulco Film Festival. In 1971, the cult classic El Topo followed. Holy Mountain premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973 and today is still considered his most daring film.

Shadow Play is a series of films that tread nimbly between reality and illusion, acknowledging the artificial nature of cinema. Referencing the tradition of shadow puppetry, the origins of cinema in phantasmagoria, and Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” each film draws on the metaphors of light as reality and shadow as artifice.

In Plato’s The Republic, the allegory of the cave illustrates the difference between truth and illusion. Many writers have noted that “Allegory of the Cave” (written c. 360 BCE) bears great resemblance to the contemporary movie theater.

Other Shadow Play films this spring include:

Thursday, March 28, 7:30 PM
World on a Wire (Welt am Draht)
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

A science fiction thriller in which the boundary between reality and simulation is ceaselessly questioned, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire follows a conspiracy at the Institute for Cybernetics and Future Science.

Thursday, April 18, 7:30 PM
Quay Brothers: Selections from Phantom Museums

A screening program of the short films of the Quay Brothers, identical twins renowned for their stop-motion animated films that combine puppetry and painstakingly detailed handmade sets.

Thursday, May 9, 8 PM
The Third Man free outdoor screening
Directed by Carol Reed

This classic 1949 film noir set in shadowy post-war Vienna stars Joseph Cotton, Orson Welles, and Alida Valli.

Tickets for all films (except May 9’s The Third Man free outdoor screening) are $6.

Evelyn’s Café will open at 6:30 PM with a full menu of meals, snacks, and beverages as well as a selection of wines. Parking is available in the Rensselaer parking lot on College Avenue.

More information can be found on the EMPAC website: empac.rpi.edu. Questions? Call the EMPAC Box Office: 518.276.3921.
Vectors of Research—Circles of Art

EMPAC—The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center—is where the arts, sciences, and technology interact with and influence each other by using the same facilities, technologies, and by breathing the same air.

Situated on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, EMPAC is dedicated to building bridges between our human senses, to modes of perception and experience, to creating meaning in a physical environment, and to the intangible world of digital technology.

Four discrete venues are designed with unique technical infrastructure to enable audiences to see, hear, and move in space in endlessly different ways. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to create new work and presents events which ask audiences to join the quest for new perspectives.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological university. The school offers degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the social sciences and humanities. For over 30 years, the Institute has been a leader in interdisciplinary creative research, especially in the electronic arts. In addition to its MFA and PhD programs in electronic arts, Rensselaer offers bachelor degrees in electronic arts, and in electronic media, arts, and communication — one of the first undergraduate programs of its kind in the United States. The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies and EMPAC are two major research platforms that Rensselaer established at the beginning of the 21st century.
EMPAC 2012-2013 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by continuous support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the New York State Council for the Arts; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Council Norway, Fond for Lyd og Bilde, and Fond for Utøvende Kunstner.