Holy Motors ★★★½

People still spouting the adage, "necessity is the mother of invention" haven't seen Holy Motors - a case in point than inventiveness requires nothing.

"True" art films like this - those expressing complex thoughts and feelings through a provocative and beguiling lens without the typical structure or constraints of cinema (like narrative or development) - typically don't wash for me. They feel pretentious and opaque, difficult to relate to and ultimately too obscure or discordant to enjoy. Holy Motors is different. It doesn't feel like watching an artist perform, it feels like being brought behind the curtain.

The film itself is without definition - the protagonist (played amazingly by the chameleon Denis Lavant) drifts through a number of vignettes through the course of a day, and it's not until well beyond the middle of the film that Carax even hints at purpose behind the interconnectivity of the events. But that purpose remains ambiguous and interpretive.

But despite its overall ambiguity, at its heart Holy Motors is more obvious than I expected it to be - which is perhaps why I found myself enjoying it more than any other critically-successful "art" film of recent memory, simply because it provokes thought as well as it does emotion. It's a clear ode to cinema itself: although dreamlike, the structure of the film (complete with an amazing intermission) parallels a cinema experience. The performances are a "what if" of actors spanning genres - as if real-world Paris were being rolled through a projector, spliced together from chunks of films lying about the projection room floor.

In short, I don't really know what to make of this film, but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, and came away with a great deal of logical introspection, which is a type of introspection I rarely get from films of its ilk.

I can't pretend to really understand it, but I also don't care.

3! 12! Shit!