Holy Motors is a French movie written and directed by Leos Carax in the year 2012, starring some brilliant actors such as Denis Lavant and Edith Scob. Denis Lavant plays Monsieur Oscar in the movie, which carries out a couple of various appointments throughout the day, and inhabits several characters. Leos Carax is a French film director, critic and a writer who is famous for his poetic fashion and way of portraying love filled with torture and agony. In the beginning of his film career, he did some short films and film critics before his first film release. Holy Motors was a film where Carax featured after thirteen years. Carax made Holy Motors of an extraordinarily youthful spirit.
In the plot of the film, we see Carax himself waking up from his bed, with no one beside him, and entering a cinema filled with spectators seeing the strange reflection on the screen. This could be related to his own isolation and his unnoticeable return to the real cinema. And then we see a man who walks out of his house, which looks fairly rich, with few bodyguards, and his name is Oscar. Monsieur Oscar starts his day in his white limousine; driven by a lady in a white suit, name Celine. He gets ready for his first appointment of the day and dresses up as a beggar woman, who stands on the street of Paris for decades. The question arises why? Why would a man with riches, limo, and bodyguards beg on streets? Just for fun or to understand people and their perspectives? Then Monsieur Oscar is back into his limo and it is when he removes his makeup and we realize he is an actor, an actor who plays his roles in actual settings on streets of Paris. He gets his files of appointments in the backseat of his limousine, which is like his life, where he gets all his supplies, makeup, costumes and meals, a place where he sheds one character and gets ready for another. He then gets a file for his next appointment.
All his characters can be related to his old films, falling under different genres like documentary, science fiction, drama, musicals, thriller. Oscar plays the character of a beggar woman, a sci-fi movie character, a crazy monster, a father, and he even plays characters where his own self-kills him. Yet after this entire act, no matter what happens, no matter if he dies, he returns back to his limousine and another appointment is waiting for his attention. It’s not just a film but it is living in a cinema. It is a connection between art, life, and cinema. This film can be compared to our lives, where we play different characters in various situations and we act accordingly. Monsieur Oscar also dies by his own hands in one of his acts, which could be a visual representation of how we kill our own character self, in reality, to move on in crisis. And each time after the act we come back to real self, (like in the limo) and prepare for a new act.
Carax has tried to portray a life of an actor here, where Monsieur Oscar acts with invisible cameras and invisible directors, which means he acts without considering viewers’ perception. Most the characters and scenes in the film can also be related to Leos’s Career. In the film Lavant does motion capture, which is very postmodern, He does actually strip for CGI, while Oscar wearing a suit, which is with reflective sensors blocking in a beam of light. Oscar struggles, fights and also runs on a treadmill, suggests that even a science fictional character played dedicatedly, extracts more of psychological and physical activity. Lavant played a character of ‘Merde’ in one of Carax’s compilation film in past.
He was a beast that passes through a cemetery and carries off a model from a photo shoot. In this scene, Carax makes fun of the vulgar abasement of the woman by monsters in this modern world, in a motion capture dance, where he presents the center of the beauty that everyone even monsters depend upon. For Leos, cinema is a crucial stage for imagination. In the last part of the film, Oscar meets his former lover Eva, and that character is directly taken from his past work ‘The lovers on the Bridge – Paris’, she sings a song about the passage of time before jumping to her death from the rooftop of an abandoned building. Her suicide, is unexplained, like other stories in the film, though it could be an autobiographical reference to the tragic suicide of Carax’s wife, Katerina Golubeva, a year before the movie was released.Carax also tried to cope with the art of cinematography in this film. When Oscar looks out of his window, it shows different visions, like night mode, thermal vision, digital glitch.
He also used different techniques of camera and cinematography like slow- motion, computer graphics, Sweep shots etc. Also, this whole film is about Oscar playing many characters without any visible cameras or directors, which can hint for our life as a film, and this world as a stage, and we are the actors. The invisible cameras make Oscar feel little insecure to play his characters, which can relate to the insecurity of Leos Carax, being away from the cinema for over a decade.
And also he uses the medium of cinema to show his past experiences of life. The movie pays dues to the past failures and encounters.This freewheeling surrealist outing from France attempts to dispense almost completely with conventional narrative structure; instead, it offers a series of absurdist sketches with scarcely any discernible connection between them”Let’s just say that it’s not bound to narrative logic.” – www.sbs.com.auThe audience is forever being encouraged to forget about narrative sense and slip into a warm bath of unreason, but persistently jolted back out of it with non-sequiturs, accordion interludes, gags and unexpected chimps. – the guardianHoly Motors could be a multiple-personality disorder of the spirit, a tragicomic shattering of the self, caused by some catastrophe that has happened just out of sight, just beyond the reach of memory.
– the guardianIn the end scene we realize that it was not over, it was just a day into his daily appointments and was a never-ending process. when Oscar asks if he could be happy in next life. It is an alienated and very unpredictable movie, where expectations are teased but never really met, which probably keeps audience to wonder what is next. Here is a film that is exasperating, frustrating, anarchic and in a constant state of renewal. It’s not tame. Some audience members are going to grow very restless. My notion is, few will be bored.