Holy Motors

Holy Motors ★★★★★

"Holy Motors" begins with a dream but is any of what follows any more 'real'? You might say that Leos Carax's superb movie is about how we experience cinema, (the dream that opens the film takes place in a cinema), and about performance in the everyday. The central character is called Oscar, (and the chameleon like Denis Lavant gives a performance worthy of one). At first he appears to be nothing more than a rich businessman saying goodbye to his family and heading off for another day at the office. But Oscar is not what he seems; indeed, does Oscar exist at all or is he merely Denis Lavant in many disguises acting out the roles we see every time we go to the movies? Is anything in "Holy Motors" real or are we just dreaming it in the darkness?

The thread that links these moments, these dreams, these performances is the large white limousine in which Edith Scob drives Mr Oscar around from 'appointment' to 'appointment'. (Scob is another cinematic 'link' from Carax as it was she who played the daughter in "Eyes Without a Face" in which Alida Valli was the driver through the streets of Paris). However, the appointments are so extreme we can never accept them as anything but scenarios in a movie. So "Holy Motors" surely can't be a film we can take 'seriously'?

What it is is an art-house entertainment of the kind that cineastes go to the cinema to see, the kind of film that makes cineastes feel superior and of course I loved it as I love any film that makes me feel part of the cinematic experience and removes me, at least one step, from the real world for as long as it is going on. Its detractors will say it is pretentious but it displays a real film-makers delight in confounding our expectations and, of course, in cinema in general.