Dec. 05, 2012 - Issue #894-Upgrades in Motion: Convergence
What dreams may come
Holy Motors an ultra-bizarre, hugely enjoyable ride
In suit and tie, Oscar leaves his compound, cheerfully waves adieu to the kids, passes by his ample security staff and enters his stretch limo, which is piloted by Oscar's Girl Friday, a slim, ivory-haired, ravishingly beautiful septuagenarian (Edith Scob, most famous as the titular non-visage in the horror classic Eyes Without a Face). She alerts him to the day's itinerary. Oscar prepares for each of his gigs from his mobile office, which is equipped with a bulb-framed mirror, costumes and make-up. (Only Cosmopolis displays a car with more vital amenities.) First stop: Oscar disguises himself as a hunched-over old lady muttering to herself on a busy bridge. Soon after he's donning a black full-body jumpsuit adorned with little white balls and entering a Tronosphere, where he meets a similar female creature in similar garb with whom he play-fights and faux-sexes with acrobatic panache. Is this already sounding weird? People, you all don't know the half of it.
Maybe Monsieur Oscar is simply the world's hardest working actor. Maybe, like the hapless hero of Ursula K Le Guin's novel The Lathe of Heaven, he's simply trapped in an existence that morphs every time he turns around, and all he can do is adapt. Maybe Leos Carax, the compulsively inventive writer/director of Holy Motors, just wants to send Lavant—his ferociously talented muse, Harpo Marx, Jacques Tati, Jackie Chan and Lon Chaney all rolled into one wiry, putty-faced Frenchman—on a paid holiday to an ever-unfurling dreamscape, made of one-part reality, one-part unconscious roaming, one-part cinephilia. There's no road map for Holy Motors, so best do away with your search for clear answers from the get-go. You'll have more fun that way.
For those who saw the recent anthology film Tokyo!, you'll be pleased to discover that Carax has resurrected Lavant's milky-eyed, mayhem-making leprechaun, who this time around surfaces from a Paris sewer, gobbles cemetery flowers, bites the fingers off a fashion photographer's assistant and abducts a zombified Eva Mendes from a glamour shoot. Later Oscar will enter an abandoned warehouse full of mannequin parts and meet up with Kylie Minogue, a fellow career changeling, or maybe a secret agent, from somewhere in his past, and she'll sing a sad and powerful song that asks, "Who Are We?" The unbearable truth is that the answer just keeps changing, scene by scene, moment by moment, as does this luxuriant, restless, ultra-bizarre and hugely enjoyable film. Identity is fluid: this is a fact that also makes for great fantasy, a fantasy at the heart of movie-love. This movie understands that fantasy like few others do.
Fri, Dec 7 – Wed, Dec 19
Written and directed by Leos Carax
Metro Cinema at the Garneau
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy