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.
Denis Lavant...One of the most interesting actors of his generation...or any generation.
V. offensive Irish stereotype.
To say Carax's film is a challenging one would be quite the understatement. I'm not even sure Carax can make sense of everything. But, it's a beautiful ode to a medium that reluctantly welcomes a major shift that has dominated the conversation surrounding what we mean when we say the word 'film.'
Pues la verdad es que no me ha gustado, es una película diferente, pero no me ha entrado, se me ha hecho larga y no la he entendido.
A fever dream of fantastic imagery and surreal situations, as bewitching as it is bewildering. My introduction to Carax was his "Merde" segment in Tokyo!, which I initially thought was an ill fit between the styles of Gondry and Bong. Here, surrounded by other characters from the director's psyche, Monsieur Merde is right at home. Not everything works for me, but for every frustrating or confounding moment, there is a redeeming sequence of cinematic transcendence. The sublime mo-cap segment ranks up there with Barney's Cremaster Cycle. Highly recommended if you like the work of David Lynch, Nicolas Winding Refn, or Matthew Barney.
A bit mad, but it's worth it.
Eva Mendes probably fired her agent afterwards.
Film #6 of the "Scavenger Hunt #4" Challenge!
Task #18. An exquisite mindbender!
My list: letterboxd.com/darbyact/list/joshs-film-scavenger-hunt-list-4/
Original List: letterboxd.com/naughty/list/scavenger-hunt-4
I missed this film when it first came out, I'm glad I was finally able to catch up with it. However, as with I think quite a few people, my first reaction is what the hell did I just watch? I think after just one viewing I'm still processing this film. It's hard to really grasp on just one watch, but I do know that this is a masterfully crafted film. It's shot wonderfully, staged beautifully, and edited flawlessly, there is no doubt that Holy Motors is a very, very well crafted film.
But what holds me back from loving this…
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…