Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holy Motors is one of the Most Interesting, and Strangest Movies I Have Seen This Year. This Meta Adventure is a Fascinating Advancement of Film

Holy Motors (4 out of 5 Stars)
Directed and Written by Leos Carax (Boy Meets Girls, Mauvais sang)
Starring: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, and Kyle Minogue

On first viewing (because I will need to see this film again) films like Holy Motors require the mind of someone who can figure out puzzles.  People who are good at solving puzzles know the way the pieces fit together without even trying to to understand the inner workings of the jagged edges. One of the joys about film is that some films are those easy/simple 100 piece puzzles, and some seem to be humungous, and you are always looking for the missing pieces.  Holy Motors is the latter.

Monsiuer Oscar (Lavant) is being driven around in a white limousine by Celine (Scob) to go the his "appointments." of the day.  Prior to his being picked up,  Monsiuer Oscar walks through this movie theatre filled with people, then leaves his home.  Throughout his time with these "appointments" Monsiuer Oscar takes on different personas, and old Gypsy woman, a crazed vagabond who kidnaps a model (Eva Mendes, a banker, a disappointed father, a dying millionaire, and a few more.  All of these different "appointments" feel as though Monsiuer Oscar is taking on different acting gigs throughout the day.  One key to this is one where he where little white dots and performs a dance with some intense sexual connection, and when the camera moves to the screen we see Monsiuer Oscar and his partner in CGI form.  

In this film Lavant is a true star, and gives an incredible performance in each of these different roles.  Throughout the film Lavant adds brilliant layers, often not speaking, and conveys some of the deeps emotions.  After working with Carax before it feels as though these two worked together with great ease and even though this is one of the most complex performances of the year, Lavant turned in a fantastic performance, and one of the most complicated from this year.Lavant's performance is the largest piece of the puzzle on screen, but the director's vision leads to so many depths, which can't be answered by the performer.

Carax a former film critics, takes you on a journey fitting together these different puzzle pieces to create something much larger about film.  Carax worked on a larger budget American film, but the film never came to life. With this project never coming to life Carax, started working on this low budget film, and was finally brought to the screen 13 years after his last picture.  Motors feels  like director David Lynch's Mullholland Dr. both providing a sharp critique on movies today, and the evolution of the modern cinema.  The "actor" goes from gig to gig without the emotional understanding of the part or faking the way they feel about the character.  One of the funniest moments was when Lavant played the dying millionaire whose step niece was grieving for him.  After he said his goodbye in what would be defined as on screen, Monsiuer Oscar gets up asks the girl her name and walks out of the room.

While each of these elements adds to the greater understanding of this film, Carax also references other film styles, and different French cinema.  Without studying or knowing these styles, the film leaves some pieces missing.  For example one of Carax's influences for this film was the French film Eyes Without a Face (1960) by Georges Franju.  Face starred Scob, who plays Celine Monsiuer Oscar's driver.  Within Face Scob (who is brilliant in this film) donned a mask to cover her face; she dons the same mask with this film.  Moments like this made me go out and do my research on French cinema, to some film is lark, made for fun, but Carax recognizes the beauty in the concept of cinema.

Without my own research that piece of the film would have gone way over my head, and while many would view this as a flaw, I view this as opportunity to delve deeper into the world of film, study more about the past, and experience this film once again.  Film is a journey, an adventure, and Carax uses this film as a way to help transport people towards having a better understanding of what it means to watch, and absorb cinema.  Plus who doesn't like a good musical movie homage with Kyle Minogue?Holy Motors is one of the fascinating films this Year.  This meta adventure is a fascinating advancement of film  

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