Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar.
We follow 24 hours in the life of a being moving from life to life like a cold and solitary assassin moving from hit to hit. In each of these interwoven lives, the being possesses an entirely distinct identity: sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, sometimes youthful, sometimes old. By turns murderer, beggar, company chairman, monstrous creature, worker, family man.
Holy Motors, the critics darling of 2012, is as strange, befuddling and pretentious as the gushing reviews suggested it would be. Leos Carax’ first feature film in over a decade is a willfully odd odyssey; a picaresque story of cinema itself and an ode to performance. The committed, certifiable and chameleon-like Denis Lavant plays Mr. Oscar, a man who travels around Paris in a limousine transforming himself into a range of strikingly different characters for reasons left largely up to the audience to decide.
It is a film made for, and by, a particular type of film fan; one steeped in the history of film who enjoys partaking in a game of spot the movie reference. It’s an indulgent, self-satisfied…
To say that Holy Motors has been praised would be the understatement of the century. It has been discussed and interpreted more than probably any other movie this year. Furthermore, seemingly every major critic loves it. It has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, an 84 on Metacritic, and my boy Film Crit Hulk placed it at the very top of his 2012 list, ahead of Django Unchained, The Master, Looper, and several other terrific titles. However, there's something none of those critics will tell you, and I'm here to give it to you straight: the key to understanding Holy Motors is knowing that Holy Motors SUCKS.
Now, before you prejudge this as another Cosmopolis-style "Dear Fuckers" letter, hear me out,…
A film that, needless to say, has a number of correct subjective interpretations directly proportional to the amount of viewers that saw it with a high attention span and an open mind, in my humble opinion, can be more easily dissected if:
I. It is seen passively.
“I'd rather people feel a film before understanding it."
- Robert Bresson
“We think too much and feel too little."
- Charles Chaplin.
Some things do not have to make sense. The mind can reast peacefully at night if it was not capable of rationalizing all stimula in one day, even if it seems impossible to several people. Some things just deserve to be felt.
II. The "appointments" topic is taken as the…
Q1. Was this art over substance?
Q2. Was there a point?
Q3. What genre is it?
Q4. Did I like it?
Q5. Did I hate it?
A1-5. I honestly don't fucking know!
This almost feels like a surreal version of the Mediaeval play Everyman. In that play Everyman (representing Man) meets up with a host of allegorical characters representing Life. Through these encounters Everyman learns how to reach salvation, thus completing Life's circle.
If I proceed in this train if thought, Lavant's Oscar is all those allegorical characters rolled up into one creature, a physical manifestation of life, showing us, the Everyman, the state of affairs. And apparently Life is getting old. It is having great difficulty dealing with the rapid, shallow progress we are making and basically has increasing difficulty providing us with our overly demanding urges. Life's own cycle seems to be running towards its end, heading towards its own…
Thesis - The movie is an ode to the human body as the most cinematic of objects.
1. The old video that starts the film.
2. The scene trumpeting the humans performing mo cap over the final product itself.
3. An array of physically showy performances - ogre, beggar, killer, musician, singer, grumpy father.
The "Holy Motors" of the title and conclusion, then, is a metaphor for the engine that makes cinema hum - the human body. Carax asks that in our rush to the next cinematic object, we not fall out of love with the original cinematic object.
finally revisiting this one ,
I still like it ... even though I have a million questions
Im ok with them being un answered ... I still enjoy this film ..
To attempt to make meaning of this film’s narrative is probably foolish. To attempt to make sense of what it means to convey is probably important. Holy Motors is as bizarre a movie that one could watch. One sequence does not logically lead to another. The only link between them is Monsieur Oscar – a man who must wear several disguises during his various appointments throughout the day. Again, I could attempt to explain what it is Oscar does, or whom he works for, but I’m sure that would lead to a dead-end. Besides, this film isn’t interested with resolutions or dead-ends. It’s a film that has a narrative “end,” with more of the same planned for the same characters…
Just when you think cinema has lost its ability to surprise, along comes Gallic odd-bod Leos Carax’s Holy Motors. We accompany the amazing Denis Lavant, as human chameleon Mr. Oscar, on a refreshingly unpredictable and hypnotic odyssey into the weird, spending his days riding around Paris in a limo, assuming myriad identities, and engaging in the most surreal and provocative performance art all for the entertainment of mysteriously unseen spectators that could be… us? And at one point Kylie Minogue serenades your heartstrings.
Essentially a series of seamlessly connected fourth wall-breaking vignettes, Holy Motors could be a deliberately meaningless, bonkers head-trip into the bizarre, or a warm, funny, visually eye-popping exploration of cinema and the voyeuristic relationship between audience and artist. Like all great art, it is about something. Whatever that something is, it’s as divisive as it is discussion-worthy.
Check out what the rest of the Cinapse crew thought here:
What to say about Holy Motors??! "I loved it!" might be too slight and I am sure most of my friends who would attempt to watch it will think I have lost my mind because I have such strong feelings for it (as others will most likely loathe it as it requires a LOT of thought).
I believe it can be watched and interpreted in many different ways -- ALL depending upon who we want to believe Oscar (the main character) to be.
As I watched it, I saw it as an ode to film and cinema with Oscar being an actor going through the many roles, personas, lives we put our celebrities (whom some worship -- "holy") through. Oscar…
I am alone, and they are everybody.
Holy Motors begins with director Leos Carax turning turning a lock with his finger and entering a movie theater filled with completely detached patrons.
The movie then really begins with a family-man named Monsieur Oscar, played beautifully by Denis Lavant as he heads off to work, waving good bye to his kids and the neighbors as he gets into a white limo. The film then devolves into the inexplicable, as Monsieur Oscar exits the limousine for the first time as an old beggar, the first of a series of disguises and embodiments of entirely different characters.
He continues to travel around the city, fulfilling weird, zany "appointments", each with no correlation to the…
Buñuel meets Matthew Barney.
I'm gonna have to think about this one...uhm..
Nope. I can't.
Enjoy. Or at least try to. The cinematography and sound are bewilderingly intense and astonishing. But my head hurts from trying to analyse the implications... @.@
Denis Lavant: ★★★★★
What I learned:
the definition of 'unintentional art'
the most versatile performance
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- Under the Skin
- Tropical Malady
- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
- Inland Empire
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
- The Captive
- Clouds of Sils Maria
- Goodbye to Language 3D
- The Homesman
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the festival began in 1946.…