Holy Motors

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)

It was helpful to have seen Cloud Atlas (Wachowskis, Tykwer, 2012) shortly before Holy Motors, as what they had in common made it easier to get a handle on the French film. I came to it without any knowledge, assuming from the title that it was American: so there were many surprises

Like CA, it's a film which packs in a number of short films: actually many more than CA, and with fewer actors. It's mostly a tour de force performance by the one astonishing (and unattractive) actor, Denis Lavant.

It's claimed by one critic I read that it's surrealist, and there are references in the film to dreams to support that, but it's only true to some extent, in my opinion, and in fact a bit lazy to so describe it. It's a fantasy, and mostly 'experimental'—for want of a better word—in the sense that it tests the boundaries of what can be done within the length of a feature film.

It's also what I call 'metafilmic', in that it's about possibilities of making films: that's the main thing that I retain from it. Thematically, it's rather unpleasant.

Kylie doesn't help. In the last film in which I remember seeing her (Cut, Kimble Rendall, 2000) her character was killed off in the first ten minutes. In this one, it's in the last ten. In neither case is it a loss.

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Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 1 March, 2017 | Now: 30 March, 2017