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!
"Who were we ... Who were we...
when we were ... who we were...
Who would we ... have become...
if we'd done ... differently...
It's quite comical as the film's opening credits appear on screen as if it were an educational student film. Black and white. Standard font. No music. No excitement. Enjoy it while you can, because the ride you're about to go on is wild and unpredictable to say the least.
Oscar (Denis Lavant) is driven around the streets of Paris in a lavish white stretch limousine as he's given 9 "objectives" to do today. Having impressively realistic props, makeup, bright lights, and countless outfits at his disposal, he is given a portfolio…
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…
A series of "appointments". My favourite was the ginger troll eating flowers and biting fingers off. Talk about chewing the scenery! The latex and motion capture appointment was good too.
Overall I felt I was watching Walter Mitty's melancholy older French cousin. The tail-light conversation tended to confirm the feeling.
I'm sort of torn between really quite enjoying this and being repulsed by how far shoved up it's own arthouse ass it was. Hmm...
Holy Motors is the antithesis of contemporary tentpoles--weekend after weekend of standardized action, tamed dialogue, introduction to climax to denouement to conclusion. Trading convention for flair and tempo for style, Leos Carax’s work here is subversive and at the same time befuddling. Don’t engage without a strong will and an ample supply of curiosity, otherwise you may be left wondering what just happened on screen; to be fair, you’ll be bewildered either way. Holy Motors is a fleeting story that is equal parts about work and art and the dying skill of performance.
Mr. Oscar (Denis Lavant) is many things, but on the morning we join his company in the back of a limousine, he appears important, businesslike, and even…
A man moves from one "appointment" to another, from one life to another, during one long workday. By turns surreal, sad, or both, the film is a peculiar ride. Carax is brilliant, as is Denis Lavant.
Baffling in the best kind of way - this film really gets the conversations started. Denis Lavant is so compelling, by turns creepy and endearing, hilarious and revolting.
This film warrants a couple of watches to unravel the ideas behind the obscure plot. I look forward to revisiting it.
Apparently this film was made in just two weeks. That's some serious organisation and dedication.
Just as amazing as last time.
Typical of a lot of French cinema for me: admire the technique, appreciate the fine acting, feel not one nugget of emotion toward it. It is often a beautiful movie to look at, and the concept comes right out of a dream (or an unproduced Charlie Kaufmann screenplay). Part of my issue with it was the shots that lingered WAY too long for my liking. If I get lost in a scene or in a camera shot, I can watch it for what seems like an hour. I never got that far with this one.
The plot was too fragmented for me to really latch on to anyone in it, including Mr. Oscar, who -- charismatic though he may be…
The best 'day in the life' film since Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- The Cremaster Cycle
- Sweet Movie
- The Holy Mountain
- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
ranges from entry-level weird to...Cremaster
not necessarily disturbing, but it helps
- Clouds of Sils Maria
- Goodbye to Language
- The Homesman
With Cannes 2014 only six weeks away , I thought I'd put together a list. I didn't realise how ridiculously…