Holy Motors

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Re: Holy Motors

Postby Sabin » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:01 pm

"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Holy Motors

Postby Okri » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:17 pm

I was pretty much hooked by the accordions ("trois, douze, MERDE!!") and found the ending (all four of them) surprisingly moving (and of hilarious). My favourite film of the year so far.

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Re: Holy Motors

Postby Sabin » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:11 pm

I don't know if its surrealism for the sake of surrealism. I've seen movies like that and they're rarely this fun. I think Leos Carax is having fun and so was I.

Pretty much my favorite movie of the year. Either this or Silver Linings Playbook. SLP has too many flaws for me to overlook, but like Holy Motors I'll be watching it for years and years to come.

There are traces of homage, of Carax's love of cinema, but they're a bit loose and I didn't really care that much. I'm not sure that Carax is that interested in the impact and effect of filmmaking on the actor, and I think that's probably for the best. I don't think there is much to interpret to be honest, or much information that he is withholding by design. I think Leos Carax is doing something that we (or rather I) wish more filmmakers would do: mine the central conceit for all the fun that can be had. I mean, dude-bro did it, I'll say that. There's a sweet rendezvous between Lavant and Minogue that comes close to that but back-peddles before genuine human engagement could go down.

I couldn't have been more engaged.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Holy Motors

Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:24 pm

Yes, experimental, bold, kaleidescopic... but what was the point? All it was to me was a series of short films showcasing Denis Lavant's chameleonic performance, and connected with a narrative that's always promising an explanation but never does. So it's surrealism for the sake of surrealism. The "shorts" themselves are a blast, funny and trippy and affecting and horrifying when need be. But the conceit of "assignments", while providing intrigue, eventually undermines all the rest. Perhaps more viewings will yield up further answers to its mysteries. Perhaps there are no answers, by design. I'm just getting a little frustrated of movies that withhold significant blocks of information for the sake of "open-ended interpretation", and when I need to get my surrealist jones off I'd just as soon see David Lynch's Inland Empire.

Lavant is hypnotic, though. I don't know if he gives a great performance, but he does put on a great show.
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Re: Holy Motors

Postby Sonic Youth » Wed May 23, 2012 8:25 am

Five star review:

Cannes 2012: Holy Motors – review
Leos Carax's experimental odyssey is barking mad, weightless and euphoric – it's what we have all come to Cannes for
Peter Bradshaw
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 23 May 2012



Leos Carax's Holy Motors is weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact. It is wayward, kaleidoscopic, black comic and bizarre; there is in it a batsqueak of genius, dishevelment and derangement; it is captivating and compelling. This film may or may not be a prizewinner here – although I think it may actually get the Palme d'Or – but really this is what we have all come to Cannes for: for something different, experimental, a tilting at windmills, a great big pole-vault over the barrier of normality by someone who feels that the possibilities of cinema have not been exhausted by conventional realist drama. Some may find it affected or exasperating; I found it weightless and euphoric.

Holy Motors is a mysterious odyssey through the streets of an eerie, beautiful Paris which will often digitally morph into somewhere from a different planet entirely. Denis Lavant plays Monsieur Oscar, a strange figure who is chauffeured around in a white stretch limo by Celine (Edith Scob); he has a fully equipped theatrical dressing room in the back of the car, and prepares for a series of "appointments" by getting into various elaborate and deeply preposterous disguises, checking his briefing documents and pulling the latex over his face like a metaphysical Jim Phelps in TV's Mission Impossible.

He is an old woman, a wealthy businessman, a tramp, an assassin. At one stage he is a monstrous creature in a turquoise suit who intrudes on a high-fashion photo shoot, and kidnaps the glamorous model, played by Eva Mendes. At another moment, he plays a harassed, grumpy dad, picking up his teenage daughter from a party, and angry and upset that she lies to him about how unhappy she is. At yet another moment, he is an ancient old man on his deathbed, exchanging final confidences with his beautiful, tearful great-niece. In each case, there is utter commitment to this truth, this situation, which will capriciously turn into something else.

There is something of David Lynch here, a little of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, of Gaspar Noé's Kubrickian head-trips. There's a mulch of Kafka, JG Ballard, Aldous Huxley and Lewis Carroll. When Monsieur Oscar shimmies into a figure-hugging black lycra outfit and becomes a motion-capture actor, performing an erotic dance with another performer, Carax appears to have absorbed the influence of Tron. Most wackily of all, in the graveyard scene, where the headstones bore website addresses, I even wondered if Carax had seen the work of our own David Shrigley.

And what the heck does it all mean? Perhaps Carax is creating his own secular Buddhism – the longed-for release of reincarnation made available right here, right now, over and over again. Or perhaps it is a commentary on identity and personae – how we all, in TS Eliot's words, prepare a face to meet the faces that we meet. Perhaps this is a multiple personality disorder: a series of symptoms caused by some awful tragedy: certainly his final musical number suggests this. Or perhaps it is a bravura exercise in pure imagination. Well, it's funny, it's freaky: a butterfly that breaks the wheel of convention. It's just crazy enough to win.
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Re: Holy Motors

Postby Sonic Youth » Wed May 23, 2012 7:53 am

Holy Motors
23 May, 2012 | By Jonathan Romney
Screendaily


Dir/scr: Leos Carax. France-Germany. 2012. 115mins


Absent from feature-making since 1999’s Pola X, French cinema’s mystery man Leos Carax makes up for lost time with the rambling, radically loopy Holy Motors. A metaphysical fugue in which a protean protagonist shape-shifts through shades of the human condition, Holy Motors will be acclaimed by some as a visionary, game-changing masterpiece and dismissed by others as an derivative wallow in unfocused imagery.

In fact, Carax’s comeback could best be described as an uneven portmanteau film. This is an undoubtedly ambitious work, and it’s hard to imagine anyone who won’t be tickled by at least one episode. As a whole, however, Holy Motors is scuppered by the transparence of its claims to philosophical resonance, while the nods to Cocteau, Buñuel, Franju et al make Holy Motors feel like generic neo-Surrealism rather than a truly original work. While it will divide audiences, the current dearth of eccentricity on the market will make Holy Motors a desirable, if highly specialised, cult commodity.

The director himself appears in a distinctly Lynchian prelude as a man who finds a cinema behind the wall of his room. The narrative proper then begins with one Monsieur Oscar (Lavant) stepping into a white stretch limo to begin his day’s work. He’s apparently a wealthy banker - but, as he’s delivered to the first of a series of ‘meetings’, we realise that Oscar is no one person in particular.

Through the course of a day, he adopts various roles, including a beggar woman, an assassin and his döppelganger victim, and the leader of a boisterous band of rock accordionists. He also plays a motion capture specialist who performs a bravura dance under ultraviolet light, and Merde, the grotesque goblin creature seen in Carax’s contribution to the three-part Tokyo! film of 2008.

As Oscar is driven round Paris by his mysterious assistant Céline (svelte doyenne Scob), we quickly twig to the film’s premise: that each man in his time plays many parts. The film wears its philosophical intent increasingly heavily, its tendentiousness offset by Lavant’s anarchic Chaplinesque grace. Depending on the guise, he can be detached and enigmatic; or, in the Merde episode, feral and abject. This episode is the most grating, a sub-Fellini farce in which Merde kidnaps a model (Eva Mendes) and carries her off to his subterranean lair. At times, however, the film achieves a hypnotic intensity: notably, the motion capture sequence, which is mesmerising until Carax brings in the knowingly tacky CGI monsters.

But for much of the time, Carax too visibly strains at poetic resonance - and when he couches his themes in song, the effect is clumsy, as in a closing-act ballad (by Carax and The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon) sung by Kylie Minogue, playing another limo passenger.

Visually, the film is a formidable package - Carax’s two cinematographers make Paris an eerily atmospheric dreamzone. And Lavant is hugely imposing in his Lon Chaneyesque versatility. Overall, this is a film crammed with ideas, yet it lacks the grace of bona fide Surrealism; missing the aura of the genuinely, ineffably strange, it finally remains a self-conscious upmarket weird-out.
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Re: Holy Motors

Postby Sonic Youth » Wed May 23, 2012 7:52 am

Holy Motors
By Rob Nelson
Variety.com


Audaciously giving itself license to do whatever it wants, Leos Carax's narratively unhinged, beautifully shot and frequently hilarious "Holy Motors" coheres -- arguably, anyway -- into a vivid jaunt through the auteur's cinematic obsessions. Unpredictable to say the least, the movie follows a chameleonic actor, played by chameleonic actor Denis Lavant, who performs almost a dozen outrageous roles that collectively allow the pic to become a wild survey of filmic genres, this to the uncertain delight of art-cinema gatekeepers and the likely detriment of commercial appeal. Cult film fans will flip, but negative reaction will be extreme as well.

Those who'll complain -- and there are apt to be plenty -- that "Holy Motors" is simply preposterous would do well to recall that absurdity is the very definition of surrealism, and that Carax's first feature in the 13 years since "Pola X" is nothing if not a surrealist film. Suffice to say that both animals and machines appear highly intelligent in this neo-futuristic pic; that the notion of human playacting takes on heretofore uncharted dimensions; and that only dream logic -- give or take pure cinema -- can begin to explain the wacky beauty of what goes on here.

That "Holy Motors" boils down to a bizarre fantasy of moviemaking is made more or less evident in Carax's first scene, which finds a sleepy, pajama-clad man (Carax himself, aptly enough) opening a secret door in his apartment to enter a packed movie theater, wherein frozen-stiff patrons watch "The Crowd" by King Vidor and a huge dog walks the aisles in slo-mo.

Cut to the well-off Oscar (Lavant), who heads to work in a white stretch limo driven through Paris by loyal chauffeur and confidante Celine (Edith Scob). Eventually it appears that Oscar's job is to carry out a number of elaborate assignments that require him to make creative use of the wigs, makeup and costumes stuffed in the back of the limo, and with which he'll play out various peculiar, semi-scripted scenarios.

The first has Oscar looking like a sci-fi samurai in a tight black spandex suit equipped with white dots to enable motion-capture videography. On a soundstage, obeying orders from an unseen director, Oscar -- or whatever we wish to call him here -- delivers an ultra-acrobatic action-movie perf, joined in the end by a red-clad woman with whom he has limberly simulated sex. Taken at the level of pure abstraction, of a kaleidoscope of light, color, sound and movement, the scene is thrilling, and a bona fide marvel of what experimental cinema in the feature-length context can only occasionally allow.

Oscar's next role casts him as the sewer-dwelling Monsieur Merde, previously seen in Carax's section of the triptych pic "Tokyo!" Looking like a homeless leprechaun, Merde gets into a full-on beauty-and-beast relationship with a gorgeous model (Eva Mendes), whom he resourcefully outfits in a burka, and traipses through a cemetery whose gravestones urge, "Visit my website" -- Carax's first suggestion that the virtual world has nearly overtaken the real one. Subsequent vignettes allow the director to make cinephilic trips to a gangster film, a father-daughter drama, a deathbed meller and, with Kylie Minogue as a forlorn crooner, a musical romance.

Coming on like the Gallic "Cosmopolis," "Holy Motors" is a limousine tour of a dying world, as well as a film about the malleability of identity in the Internet age, and the apparently imminent demise of physical experience. A brief scene with Oscar's boss (Michel Piccoli) suggests he may be acting for invisible cameras that webcast his adventures to mouse-clickers at home.

Viewers willing to get on Carax's loopy wavelength will find the movie intoxicating, while those who aren't might at least agree that the digital shooting by Caroline Champetier and Yves Cape is superlative. In interviews, the perfectionist Carax has expressed a strong disdain for HD, but "Holy Motors" looks both vibrant and, in accordance with the pic's thematic concerns, a touch artificial. Overall, the film's tech package is astounding.

Acting-wise, Scob hauntingly channels her role in Georges Franju's "Eyes Without a Face," while Lavant is thoroughly brilliant, almost Buster Keaton-esque in his ability to convey a wide range of emotions with a minimum of words -- or, in the case of the untranslatable Monsieur Merde, sounds.
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Holy Motors

Postby Sonic Youth » Tue May 22, 2012 9:32 pm

I think this film may need its own thread. 'Amour' suddenly has some compeition.

Holy Motors: Cannes Review
by Megan Lehmann
Hollywood Reporter


Exhilarating, opaque, heartbreaking and completely bonkers – French auteur Leos Carax’s so-called comeback film, Holy Motors, is a deliciously preposterous piece of filmmaking that appraises life and death and everything in between, reflected in a funhouse mirror.

It’s brave and foolish. After a rapturous reception at its first Cannes screening, the bewitching French-German co-production immediately bolts to the front of the pack in the race for the Palme d’Or and into an elated tempest of debate and speculation.

Beyond a segment of the 2008 triptych Tokyo!, the elusive Carax hasn’t made a film since his cult Cannes competition entry Pola X 13 years ago. He’s obviously been bottling up some seriously wacky ideas and they all blow their lids at once in this avant-garde sci-fi concoction that represents – maybe – a scream in the night against our enslavement to the virtual world.

We can only sit back and marvel as Carax’s id, in the shape of weather-beaten French character actor and long-time collaborator Denis Lavant, runs wild through the streets of Paris, tossing out visually stunning sequences that are by turns erotic, repugnant and sad.

The boisterous accordion jam alone is worth the price of admission.

Smoking like a train, Lavant inhabits eleven – count ’em – different roles during the course of a 24-hour odyssey as he is chauffeured about the city by his attentive driver, Celine (the glorious Edith Scob). It’s performance art, with an interval, and makes the most of the actor’s incredible, pliant face and acrobat’s body.

Here he is, a naked, flower-munching leprechaun being rocked to sleep by Eva Mendes’ burqa-wearing fashion model. And there, an old crone with wiry gray hair and a beggar’s cup.

He’s affecting as a concerned father remonstrating with his daughter over her shyness at a party, and scary as a flick knife-wielding hitman who excises his mirror self. Funny, too.

Carax, perhaps best known for early Juliette Binoche-starrers The Night is Young and Lovers on the Bridge, goes totally for broke with this mad hatter’s tea party, lobbing domesticated chimpanzees and chatty limousines into the mix seemingly at random, and often the only reasonable response in the face of such unhinged lunacy is to laugh with delight.

So what’s it all about?

Don’t ask Australian pop pixie Kylie Minogue’s Jean Seberg-cum-air-stewardess character, who sings a forlorn original love song backed by the Berlin Music Ensemble before leaping to her death. She is one of the many women Lavant’s Monsieur Oscar loves and leaves as he goes from “appointment” to “appointment,” taking on different guises, increasingly weary and searching for some peace, always at the mercy of the mysterious “agency.”

Carax’s visual style, aided by the cinematographer Caroline Champetier, who last year won a Cesar for Of Gods and Men, is swooningly romantic, punctuated by virtuoso flights of fancy such as the stunning motion-capture compositions. There’s a beautiful fluidity to the sequences that would seem to be at odds with the weird juxtapositions, but that’s the way it is in a dream.

Carax, who appears briefly in an overture to the film, says he is angry with the way people have succumbed so completely to the virtual world, turning their computer into their home, their hearth. In a world where people clutch their smart phones like security blankets and store all their treasured memories on a hard drive, he just may have a point.
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