Friday, 12 October 2012

Holy Motors.

‘You see many states in the film, from the fatigue of being yourself to the glory of re-inventing who you are” Carax adds, ‘There’s never any initial idea or intention behind a film, but rather a couple of images and feelings that I splice together.[1] Images and feelings over storytelling?

The director Leos Carax appears in the films prologue where he awakens in a dingy hotel room, he goes through the wall of his bedroom, which is made to look like a forest, onto the balcony of a cinema overlooking the audience and watching what appears to be a large dog walk down the aisle towards the screen, perhaps a reference to the cinematic influences that Holy Motors (2012) contains. 


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could live your life differently over and over again? Well that’s what Monsieur Oscar does, he’s ferried around Paris by his elegantly beautiful chauffeur Celine in a large white stretch limo changing his appearance and character in a series of ten appointments all to be carried out in the space of one day. 

Kay M shares a moment with M. Merde.

Again Denis Lavant is reunited with Carax after appearing in all his films except Pola X (1999) and plays a total of eleven different roles including Monsieur Oscar and my own favourite M. Merde (shit) in one of the best and funniest ‘appointments’ he carries out, sharing this segment is the statuesque Eva Mendes who plays a model called Kay M. I don’t want to explain in detail each of Oscars incarnations because I feel it would spoil your enjoyment of these cinematic adventures suffice to say that some are better than others but all hold a sense of bewilderment and surprise and all are full of invention and energy.

Is it really Jean Seberg?

The movie is full of surprises, not many films have an intermission where a group of accordion players, including Lavant, play some stunning music whilst walking through a candlelit church! Not many movies give a worthwhile role to Kylie Minogue as a Jean Seberg look alike. Not many movies reference George Franjue’s Eyes Without a Face (1960) when the 75-year-old French actress Edith Scob, who plays Oscars faithful driver Celine, dons the same mask she wore in that classic French horror. Carax even uses the same once grand Parisian department store La Samaritaine that played such a significant part of the backdrop in his modern French fairy tale Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991). Even the very final scene where Oscar is taken ‘home’ after his days work and the stretch limo is taken back to the garage for the night, gives us further revelations that we were not expecting.

Celine with her face!

Throughout his career, French filmmaker Leos Carax has repeatedly baffled and shocked his audiences: from the exuberant postmodern romance of Les Amants de Pont Neuf (The Lovers on the Bridge, 1991), to the portrayal of incestuous love in 1999’s Pola X his last feature film, his latest feature is undoubtedly his most confounding. Carax’s film reads as a tribute to cinema itself, to the different worlds of which it allows us to become part for a short period. Conversely, it may be read as a melancholic wish to be able to live one’s life again, and differently

Holy Motors is a truly imaginative piece of film making that I will never forget. It will become a cult classic, discussed and dissected over and over again, enthralling some and boring others. It’s certainly not your normal narrative driven movie and owes nothing to the mainstream! The only way to enjoy this privileged experience is to sit back and absorb what is served up on the screen and what ever you do don’t question it, don’t try and work things out, it will surely spoil the pure pleasure. 

[1] Leos Carax when interviewed by Peter Bradshaw.

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