Saturday, January 3, 2015
JEFF OF THE CINEFILES & UNFINISHED BUSINESS: HALL OF FAME: FILE #0037: HOLY MOTORS (2012)
Written & Directed By: Leos Carax
Cinematography By: Yves Cape & Caroline Champetier
Editor: Nelly Quettier
Cast: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Michael Piccoli, Leos Carax
From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar.
Anytime you try to figure this film out. It throws a curveball to throw you off.
In the beginning the director waking from his sleep to find a hidden passage way in the bedroom walls. That leads from his slumber chamber to a movie theater balcony, with a full house as the audience staring ahead at the screen. All while dogs walk the aisles. The audience shows no notice of him, but it seems like the dogs are keeping the audience in their seats or protecting them from outside sources? So they can't be distracted and as the director states at the screen in amazement as it seems he is watching his dreams put on the screen. The countdown for the movie to start starts.
The opening scene was inspired by a tale by E. T. A. Hoffmann, about a man who discovers a secret door in his bedroom that leads to an opera house.
You can interpret it as we all play different roles in life to different people including ourselves. Friend, parent, enemy, judas, sibling, lover
The film is a work that is impossible to explain, but there is a current throughout that makes the film feel deeply personal and inspired.
This seems like a valentine to cinema to me that has influenced not only him but a movie loving audience that this film seems more intended for as it travels through many genres. Action, romance, musicals, satire, performance, family drama, cult, thriller, drama, comedy for bits and pieces but never compromises to the rules of them. Keeping it's own identity. It truly becomes absurdist.
Leos Carax wrote the part of the supermodel with Kate Moss in mind, as they had already been willing to work together in another project that finally was not made. By the time of filming, though, Moss was about to get married and declined the part that, ultimately, went to Eva Mendes.
The film's initial concept started with a trend Leos Carax had observed where stretch limousines were being increasingly used for weddings. The director was interested in the cars' bulkiness. From that grew an idea for a film about the increasing digitization of society; a science fiction scenario where organisms and visible machines share a common superfluity.
While the film doesn't live up to the build up at times. I expected it to. It is still visually beautiful and unexplainable. It's one of those movies no matter how much I tell you and how off the wall It sounds. It is a movie to have to experience to understand fully. Each person I am sure has a different experience with it's influence. This film feels like that of it was meant for the audience to give some kind of meaning it would guide and cheapen the experience. It's here to confuse and make you feel something, cause a reaction
That the role of an actor or any artist is to cause action, drama or some kind of reaction to it's surrealism.
While the film isn't perfect, It is challenging. Letting some of it's plans show proudly. Which makes it all the more beautiful. Not as powerful story wise and very confusing, but ambitious and admirable.
Though I am sure some will write it off as pretentious. Not a film for everyone, but definitely one to watch for the foundations of cinema.
Denis Lavant gives the performance or performances of a lifetime. Playing the same person as many different characters. At first it seems like a gimmick but we see the roles he plays in different genres as an extension of himself. How he affects the people around him. How they affect him. The bios he fills playing this role in various lives. Giving a performance but making it personal.
Nothing truly feels too weird, just to be weird except for near the end when we see his supposed domestic home life. Other then that the film seems to be flying on all cylinders.
Leos Carax offered the part of Mr. Oscar's love from the past to his own former girlfriend,Juliette Binoche. According to Carax, they finally "did not get along". He then rewrote the part, made it a singing character and cast Kylie Minogue instead.
In a way it's like a David Lynch film just not as heavy. Though some underground behind the scenes conspiracy is introduced it is never explained in full. The film reminded me of INLAND EMPIRE only more accessible and enjoyable. This seems to be the type of film ALPS tried to be partially in it's own ways and approach without so much mystery and more lighthearted. they feel very similar in spirit. The only is that I enjoyed this film more and had more fun following it.
Edith Scob, who plays chauffeur Céline, starred in the French horror classic EYES WITHOUT A FACE, by director Georges Franju. Franju's cinema is the object of several homages throughout 'Holy Motors'. The mask that Céline puts on by the end of the film is a direct reference to 'Les yeux sans visage'.
This film feels like the directors spirit and essence. He even brings back a character from his previous segment of a short film anthology. The film TOKYO his entry MERDE. His segment the most memorable of that film by far.
Bound by no rules and a comprehension all it's own. This is an experiential piece of work that taps into the beauty of cinema and the many ways it speaks to us all from the die hard fans and followers of film to the more casual audience members.
The film has plenty of memorable sequences that will stick with you far after you have finished watching the film. The duet, the musical sequence, the dance of special effects. The kidnapping.
Some Directors leave their films open to individual audience interpretation and that's fine especially if the director is a craftsman and has something to say or at least convey. They tend to leave a basis for the audience to feed off of, non talented directors doing it make it near impossible to understand and come off as lazy. This is the best I can do to try to describe my feelings when it comes to this film
This is my first Leos carax film and tibia his fifth feature. So this film is my introduction into his cinematic universe. The film shows and deep love affair with cinema and it's meaning, each aspect. It also seems to be personal with him either making admissions, masking inspirations while whispering them into your ear. Confessing or giving insight to what might be biographical, yet hiding it in abstract surrealism. In scenes that seen inspired like their own little dramas that reoccur and are tied together loosely. Like phantoms from discarded screenplays. Only here they are broken down and examined so that you see all the work behind the magic, then left for a new mystery to start.
Throughout the film things are meant to have no answers and be mysterious. They are like beautiful sequences barely tied together in a bundle so that some escape and others are bound. Though they all look beautiful and are designed well.
I believe that the film is not meant to be defined in any way. It is whatever you see or decipher from it. I believe it means something to the director and also that he chooses not to exactly define anything and definitely offers no answers. So that it is everything to all to all who choose to watch and experience the film.