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!
Continuously bizarre, slightly pretentious but undeniably beautiful and fascinating, Leos Carax' Holy Motors is an exciting piece of surrealist cinema that raises many questions but few answers; it's a strange, yet confident masterwork that welcomes different interpretations. It follows Denis Lavant's Monsieur Oscar, a kind of actor who “travels” from life to life and from character to character for no apparent reason, embodying each character in a very complete and highly professional way.
Recently, we've had a wave of films that prefer to communicate through aesthetics, using an unconventional narrative that offers unpredictability; it's a form of cinema most critics and cinephiles tend to admire because of their ambition and uniqueness. From all these enigmatic, bizarre films, I think my…
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…
Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine
All I see are glowing praises. I don't get it. Horribly dull, annoyingly obtuse. It's not experiment, it's ego trip.
A lot of intriguing aspects to this one, but mostly just incoherent nonsense.
Can't believe I slept on this for so long. It really throws everything at you and makes it work. The lead actor gave one of the best performances I've seen in a long time, and he did all his own stunts. Amazing.
Holy Motors is a wonderfully surreal film that will leave you with much thought, even if it doesn't fully succeed on it's overly ambitious ideas. Each segment of the films captures a truly unique side of life and though the film does little to pull you in, you are taken for a ride immediately. Outstanding performances. Great score. Good cinematography.
However, I was very disappointed when I discovered that the third segment of the film was lifted straight from Carax's previous, the short "Merde" in the anthology film "Tokyo!" It even stars the same actor in the same role. That is a fantastic movie and if you watch it, you'll see that it is almost the exact same plot ripped from there.
Special shoutout to my man James Reynov for enlightening me on how to access Netflix in India. I couldn't have watched this without you. This one's for you.
An embarrassingly late viewing of Certified Copy prompted a third viewing of this monster. They're indispensable companion pieces in ways I'm far too lazy to articulate at this point in time.
I think it's a little easy to call this a Meditation on Modern Cinema (because this is a fucking Important Film, guys) seeing as how there is some transparent dialogue alluding to the current condition of movies as a sad state of affairs. That the good ol' days are behind us. Blah blah blah. I think all that is nonsense and obvious shit for pretentious assholes to write term papers about. I'm not saying there isn't stuff to unearth and analyze here but it takes away from what a fun and entertaining movie this is to experience.
It is funny, perplexing, awe-inspiring, clever, and visually striking (that opening shot is surely one of the greatest ever already). The accordion "interlude"…
This time around, I became convinced that the prologue was essential to the film: that the movie isn't just a commentary on the extent to which one can or cannot escape the never-ending cycle of the demands of performing an identity, but is also Carax's critique of the ways in which filmmakers and film audiences necessarily propagate the existence of this cycle. Or something like that. Fun.
- 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.…