Holy Motors

Holy Motors ★★

Beyond all conventions. That’s how this esoteric French art-house attempt can be best described. An arcane exercise in absurdity and surrealism, the story of which is certainly original, albeit too random and pretentious to maintain interest all the way.

We ride along with the peculiar Monsieur Oscar – a man of many faces, who travels from place to place in his white limousine. At every stop a shifting set of make-up clothes; quickly accessible via the luxury ride’s built-in theatre stall. In one moment a well-dressed tycoon, in the next a half-blind savage, who chews the fingers off a young lady, only to seconds later smear his bloody tongue on Eva Mendes armpit.

Sound diffuse? That’s because it is. Maybe I’m not the right target group or have become too “mainstreamified”. It’s certainly a question of personal taste. As an experimental chimera it has its bright spots though. Principally in the introduction, before you get a sense of where it’s all heading. Even so, after less than half of its duration, it’s the slumbering audience in the film’s first frames that I identify the most with.

“Weird, so weird!”, a photographer exclaims at the sight of the bizarre Oscar. I can only agree. To go against the tide is one thing, but to be weird for weirdness sake leads usually to mere nonsense. Holy Motors, which is both written and directed by Leos Carax, is a film for those who can infatuate themselves with the poetic worth of a ketchup stain. Aimless in story, incoherent in its actual purpose.

Rather, if you’re into the artsy, I’d recommend you to watch Persona instead, by the far more visionary Ingmar Bergman. It’s subversive in similar degree, but with the striking difference that it actually has a point. Psychologically arresting, as opposed to Carax’s “sainted engines”, which appear to be running on the mere fumes from his more-than-hackneyed hash pipe.

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