Holy Motors

Holy Motors

A strange watch, not for the obvious reasons: when I first saw this, I was in high school and going to movies alone for the first time with a bit more autonomy, able to make it out to the local limited-release theaters (I think this was the second in a condensed series of first-time solo watches, followed by Moonrise Kingdom). I was very much in a place of willing to engage with movies I knew nothing about—I was ravenous for film, realizing it was going to have a significant impact on the person I was becoming. 

But! I saw this movie and was like w t f, unwilling to hear much of the argument that that was part of the whole thing. I hated it! It made me mad how random and weird it was, how apparently devoid of story and sensitivity to the audience, just “art film” for its own sake. (What a crotchety teen I was.)

However, there were moments I loved, like the accordion entr’act(!), Kylie’s sequence, the limo gag at the end, and just being introduced to all that is Denis Lavant. My friend sometimes slips into a character that forces me to draw parallels to his little Mr. Merde. Each of the little vignettes haunt my dreams, swirls around in my mind…

So here we are, today, when I realized I can watch this for free. I’m now more inclined to treat this as a work of genius, but is that because it’s meeting my own mind, like seeing your very dreams onscreen, or because it really stands on its own as such, and I’ve done the work with my film literacy to see that now? I didn’t realize just how much this was ingrained in my subconscious for the past eight years, so that was a jarring experience in itself. 

Ultimately, I think this movie is challenging in its ambiguity, but in that, it leaves fun little bits of room for you to fill in the spaces (or not, and just enjoy it for face value). Is it film, other performance, the angels among us…who knows, who really cares, expand your mind and find value the ride of being ten different people in a given day. Also shout out to Edith Scob who is an anchor through the whole thing—loved her performance. 

Ok that’s all! This film messed me up inside, and I think that’s enough to say I “liked” it?! It’s fun to have such an interaction with art.

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