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HOLY MOTORS (2012) at 53rd TIFF
HOLY MOTORS (2012) premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and most recently opened the 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Is it gratuitous shock-value pomp or high surrealistic cinematic genius? You decide…
A swarthy dwarfish (though not a dwarf) Parisian, ‘Monsieur Oscar’ (played by Denis Lavant), lives for the night like some kind of vampire or ancient fiend feeding off humanity’s basest Chthonic nature. By day he is a loving father to his teenaged daughter, but by night a creature, monster, stark-raving madman.
Driven around in a white limo by an older French woman, Celine, Oscar appears very much like an errant method actor putting on and taking off his masks while getting lost inside each character blurring the lines between what is real and what is mere illusion; after all, who can say?
This anti-hero is on a crusade to explore every possible face he can and exorcise his every craving. What and who exactly is Oscar? Perhaps he is a metaphor for all human fear and desire. Or perhaps he is merely desire itself- he stomps around eating flowers voraciously through a Paris graveyard, chases Eva Mendez with a red-haired boner, commits murderous rampage with periodical pauses for sexual acrobats with a Tron-like circus performer and stops for a nostalgic love musical with Kylie Minogue just before she throws herself off a building to a morbid demise. Oh, and did I mention the white limo talks at the end?
Whatever Oscar represents, or doesn’t, the film is a lot like life… an enigma impossible to impose definite meaning upon, sans sequence; and while seeming to go somewhere, it often ends up at a standstill, but never ceases to shock and amaze.
As a fellow viewer stated: 'I’ve seen this film twice now and I still don’t know what it’s about'.
-written by Vanessa McMahon
Filmography 1980 Strangulation Blues (short) 1984 Boy Meets Girl 1986 Mauvais sang/Bad Blood 1991 Les Amants du Pont-Neuf/The Lovers on the Bridge 1997 Sans titre (short) 1999 Pola X 2006 My Last Minute (short) 2008 Tokyo! (segment Merde) 2009 42 One Dream Rush (short) 2012
Holy Motors Director: Leos Carax Script: Léos Carax Photographer: Caroline Champetier, Yves Cape Montage: Nelly Quettier Sound: Erwan Kerzanet, Katia Boutin, Josefina Rodriguez, Emmanuel Croset Music: Neil Hannon Art Direction: Emmanuelle Cuillery Costumes: Anaïs Romand With: Denis Lavant (Monsieur Oscar), Édith Scob (Céline), Kylie Minogue (Eva/Jean), Eva Mendes (Kay M.), Élise Lhomeau (Léa/Élise), Jeanne Disson (Angèle), Michel Piccoli (the man with the birthmark)
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