Holy Motors

Holy Motors ★★★★½

The controversial theologian John Calvin proclaimed that the universe was the "Theater of God." Humans are actors merely fulfilling the roles handed to us.

Although I am certain that this isn't the basis upon which Leo Carax operates, there is no doubt that it is not impossible to draw parallels between the two concepts. As I think about it more and more, I think the central idea of the film is just a fantasy. In this fantasy, our protagonist, for almost two hours per day, searches for meaning in life by playing quirky characters that give him somewhat surreal experiences that resemble those in the reality. The end of the film, when our protagonist arrives at his supposed home, all the surrealism and the concept of loneliness that has flooded our character makes all the sense with an introduction of an element that is somewhat surprising, but at the same time it is not. In the end, even the driver that at first I thought symbolized God turns out to be nothing more than an angel. If we were to describe it in less spiritual terms, it would be a single individual serving someone and no one at the same time. As it turned out, the face we had been seeing was one of the many masks that, like Lavant's character, are interchangeable personalities.

If we focus on the more technical, and less philosophical aspects, the cinematography and staging are superb. In spite of the lack of structure and meaning in their narratives, the ideas are both entertaining and artistic exercises that immerse the audience in a bizarre universe. The way Lavant captures all these different roles is flawless, to the point where it feels less like a performance and more like an embodiment.

All in all, even though I found the pacing a bit tedious and that many of the sections that I liked the least lasted longer than I would have liked while others like the iconic long sequence with the band felt very short, this film deserves to be seen. No matter if you're fully in love or totally disappointed, like life itself, it cannot be avoided.

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