Holy Motors

Holy Motors ★★★★½

A film that, needless to say, has a number of correct subjective interpretations directly proportional to the amount of viewers that saw it with a high attention span and an open mind, in my humble opinion, can be more easily dissected if:

I. It is seen passively.

“I'd rather people feel a film before understanding it."
- Robert Bresson

“We think too much and feel too little."
- Charles Chaplin.

Some things do not have to make sense. The mind can rest peacefully at night if it was not capable of rationalizing all stimula in one day, even if it seems impossible to several people. Some things just deserve to be felt.

II. The "appointments" topic is taken as the core subject.

Beyond the multiple references to existentialist/horror science fiction films of the 70s like The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and what is almost a personal homage to classic poetic horror director Georges Franju, the main message communicated is our performance in our differing human relationships. An appointment involves an "obligation", a self-applied compromise that one looks forward to fulfill. It is a fact that all of us have, at least more than once, mutated our personality traits or attitude when being in front of different people. We become another person. We never stop being "we", but be forget who "we" really are, who "we" really is, what "we" really is(are?), and, at the end, we become actors of our improvised existence. Little by little, we lose ourselves, and it takes time to rediscover ourselves. It's true that the array of human interactions also construct a unique version of our being, but one thing is to complement yourself with the existence of others, and another one is to become a puppet of others. These are the two extreme points in the line. There are middle tones, and the only thing we can control is that tone.

Why? Personal choice. Period. We allow it.

III. What drives us is "the beauty of the act", but "the beauty lies in the eye of the beholder".

And this is the point where Carax applies his meta-film concept. The film opens reminding us our current position, but the film's message hasn't even been stated. That is why the opening of the film is the only disconnected part from the rest of the subsequent episodic structure. Even the protagonist "opens the door" to the other reality, our "reality", and is reminded of the fact that everything is just a film.

Maybe our life is a film too, observed by thousands of spectators, simply because we decide to act. We act. A lot.

Why? Also because of personal choice. Period.

IV. If you see the "Holy Motors" place from a metaphysical POV.

In that way, actress Edith Scob becomes much more than a reference to her other character in the 1960 masterpiece of the importance of human identity. Every limousine driver becomes the passenger's conscience... or God's omniscient will... or angels working for God (to whom Edith Scob possibly talks to at the end through her cellphone)... The point is, you decide. What is it that drives you to every single human "appointment" of yours everyday, making you go weary? Are you too tired to do your acting job already? Or do you still act because beauty lies in the eyes of the beholders of your life?

Compared incorrectly to Jodorowsky (that comparison can only be applied to a visual level, which is merely superficial), Holy Metaphysycal Blow-Your-Mind-With-Allegorical-Drugs Motors compells us to either watch a film like Cocteau demanded cinema to be seen (as poetry with no possibility of complete rationalization) or to feel frustrated. Some pacing issues are present here and there, and the distribution of the intensity of the acts throughout Oscar's whole day feels awkwardly distributed by Carax, dragging the emotions sometimes and constructing cacophonies a little bit too forced to be belived as being part of a whole product, but cinema today is in serious need of a revival of an alternate branch of experimentation. There are several people, including me, that are grateful for valiant projects like this.


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