Title: Holy Motors
Language: French, Mandarin, English
Country: France, Germany
Director/Writer: Leos Carax
Cinematography: Yves Cape, Caroline Champetier
A KVIFF screening of HOLY MOTORS, which marks Leos Carax’s return, almost 13 years after his previous feature-length film POLA X (1999), with his leading man Denis Lavant.
The film is has an enigmatic temperament, it presents a dawn-till-dusk routine of an actor (Lavant), who impersonates almost a dozen different characters in the stint, with a stretch-limo as the changing-room (for costume and makeup) and a female chauffeur (Edith Scob) as the company.
Since I have watched COSMOPOLIS (2012) and ALPS (2011) just a few days ago in KVIFF, so an instinct rush of comparison of them is irrationally running through my mind, limo has plays an isolated enclosure in COSMOPOLIS and this one, which occupies more screen-time in the former, but executes a much disguised mission in the latter, namely, the scene when limos are off-duty, the revelation is both mind-blowing and rib-tickling.
Both ALPS and this film mainly probe into the different facets of acting, to the former, it is an over-preoccupied commitment which would mar and blur one’s original life; to the latter, it dedicates immensely to the beauty of acting, a more abstract performance, hired to do something one really love (there are moments of reminiscence in the paragraph with his co-work and ex-lover, a bobbed hair Kylie Minogue, which seems to be incongruous with the rest of the film).
The film owns and oozes an idiosyncratic undertow while being an eye-opener for film gourmets, particularly in the first hour, which is full of visual surprises and lurid humour. The part of beauty and the beast (with the goddess-like Eva Mendes) is purely theatrical and the showcase of body-capture technic with gymnastic dexterity is purely joyous to watch.
Denis Lavant renders a certain acting pyrotechnics in it, and Edith Scob is also mysteriously elegant in her working suit. The film’s final coda is another great one which completely out of a clear sky, a larger-than-life innovation which solely extraordinary filmmakers could offer, and Leos Carax, is among the elite.