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Holy Motors

France/Germany 2012. Director: Leos Carax
Cast: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Elise Lhomeau

Voted the best film of 2012 in polls conducted by Film Comment and indiewire — and ranking third in the Village Voice and fourth in Sight and SoundHoly Motors marked the ecstatic return of flashy Cinéma du look luminary and former French enfant terrible Leos Carax, who hadn’t made a feature since 1999’s Pola X. “With Holy Motors, Carax has roared back to form, and maybe even surpassed himself. This full-throttle cinematic fever dream stars Carax’s longtime muse Denis Lavant as 11 different characters — or maybe one character with 11 different identities — who crisscross Paris in a white stretch limousine over the course of one long, Borgesian, Lynchian day. There’s no mistaking the true location of the movie, however, for anywhere but Carax’s own feverish, movie-mad imagination ...In fact, one could argue that the ‘story’ of Holy Motors is that of cinema itself, as the form of the film hopscotches wildly from fairy tale to thriller to musical to melodrama, with the astonishing Lavant morphing from [character to character] ...All the while, Carax’s camera lyrically cranes and pirouettes around the streets of a nighttime Paris that has scarcely seemed more alive with narrative possibilities” (Scott Foundas, Film Comment). Colour, 35mm, in French with English subtitles. 115 mins.



"It’s an episodic work of great visual invention — from scene to scene, you never see what’s coming — that reminds you just how drearily conventional many movies are. You want three acts? How dull. A pretty protagonist? Oh, please. The triumph of the human spirit? Go away. Mr. Carax has nothing for you. What he has are weird tales; beautifully whirling, gyrating bodies; an anguished song, a sense of drift and the steady (heart) beat of lament. And still, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet."

New York Times | full review

"It could almost be a film made in a time before language, a rendering of modern life - or modern lives - as a kind of cinematic cave painting. With songs. And a white stretch limo. And Kylie Minogue."

NPR | full review

"Only dream logic -- give or take pure cinema -- can begin to explain the wacky beauty of what goes on here."

Variety | full review