Sep 21 2012 By Gerry Fitzsimmons
Holy Motors Image 2
Dir: Leos Carax Cast: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Michel Piccoli
HOLY MOTORS is the most recent creation of French director and writer Leos Carax and is one of the most outstanding films of the year.
First shown in May at Cannes, it is the most intelligent, captivating, surreal, farcical and beautifully profound movie in recent memory. Its pretentions are compensated for by its uncompromising black comedy as much as its dark themes are by its honesty.
The narrative is just straight enough to follow whilst being daring enough to baffle and with an extraordinary central performance from evident shape-shifter Denis Lavant, the 115 minutes we spend in a stunningly eerie Paris is both terrifying and euphoric at once.
Monsieur Oscar (Lavant) cruises around the French capital in a white limo that looks, as Carax observes, ‘good from the outside, but inside there’s the same sad feeling as in a whores’ hotel’. Likewise, it serves as a mobile office/dressing room for Oscar to prepare for each ‘appointment’ he has in what seems a rather bizarre day job. Inexplicably, he emerges from the limo for each assignment as a different member of a varied and colourful ensemble of characters, each with a particular mission.
A hunchbacked granny begging in the streets, a motion capture actor playing the part of a huge reptilian alien having a rather erotic encounter with a female demon, a foul, cavern-dwelling neanderthal ‘Monsieur Merde’ who eats fingers, hair and money (honestly), and an old dying uncle expressing his eternal love for his niece is but another role Oscar finds himself wrapped up in near the end of his shift.
All of these characters are played out in the absence of any cameras and, for the first hour, for no clear reason other than this is Oscar's ‘job’.
On the surface, Holy Motors is a film about film. It’s about the industry and the futile plight of jobbing actors. Underneath, Carax ponders over the existential anxiety of a species in that we are all being chauffeured in our own Holy Motors, proclaiming that the film is: "a form of science fiction, in which humans, beasts and machines are on the verge of extinction... sacred motors linked together by a common fate and solidarity, slaves to an increasingly virtual world. A world from which visible machines, real experiences and actions are gradually disappearing."
A truly unique and visionary piece of modern cinema.
Holy Motors will screen at Glasgow Film Theatre from Friday, September 28 to Thursday, October 11.