Kylie Minogue

Holy Motors

Have you spent the past month or so hearing whispers about some movie called Holy Motors, and how someone you know has seen it at this festival or that, and how it’s probably the most amazing movie of all time, but you still haven’t really gotten a good idea of what it is or what it’s about? Then you’re in luck, because a trailer promoting the film’s U.S. release has just hit the net, and now we can all get a glimpse of what festival goers have been raving about. The latest film from French writer/director Leos Carax, Holy Motors is said to be about a day in the life of a character named Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), a mysterious figure who is able to jump from one life to the next. That’s the gist of the official synopsis, at least. But it only takes a couple seconds of getting into this trailer to realize that Holy Motors is the sort of abstract, fantastical film that refuses to be adequately summed up with a synopsis.

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Jack and Diane Trailer

At first glance, Jack and Diane looks like a coming-of-age movie about two young girls exploring their sexuality and trying to find their identities – which would have been just fine on its own (there hasn’t been a good movie about a young girl’s erotic journey since Rochelle, Rochelle). But, towards the end of its new trailer, Jack and Diane provides a twist. You see, this isn’t just a story about two blossoming young girls who are experiencing changes in their bodies and minds because of out of whack hormone levels. Oh no. The changes these girls are going through are much too violent for that. After a brief period of new discovery, problems with parents, close calls on skateboards, and threats of moving to new schools (you know, kid stuff), the focus of this ad turns to blood-churning, skin-ripping, and hair-sprouting. Good heavens, this isn’t just a metaphor for becoming an adult, this little indie romance is actually a horror movie! And if that isn’t enough to get you on the hook, the film also promises music by super-mellow and super-great Icelandic music-makers Múm. Young love, body horror, chill tunes…what more could a film fan ask for?

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Holy Motors Movie Leos Carax

The question is, do you open the sack? Simon’s review from Cannes praises the positive brand of bat-shit insanity that Leos Carax‘s latest flick, Holy Motors, has going for it: “Really, the film is no more than a Kafkaesque short story idea, stretched out into a high-high-concept film that is baffling, infuriating and brilliant in equal measure. It will undoubtedly pick up five star reviews, and the only restraint on this review comes from my own refusal to cast off the conventional entertainment gauge: it’s hard to imagine anyone enjoying their popcorn when confronted with a naked man with an erection eating Eva Mendes‘s hair.” The trailer has a violent tone to it, a dangerous smoke that lingers, something felt but not always seen. There is an angry potential to it (hence the cat simile). Essentially, it feels like the kind of movie that dares you to see it. Check out the trailer for yourself, and get ready to scratch your head:

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Holy Motors Leos Carax

Cannes films have a tendency to provoke reaction, with selections chosen for their impact more often than any conventionally commercial appeal, and as a result, responses from those who attend tend to polarize. In that context, it is no surprise that Leos Carax‘s weird and wonderful Holy Motors was chosen to screen In Competition, judging by the number of walk-outs and the final standing ovation. The film follows Mr. Oscar (Denis Lavant), an inexplicable figure who is driven around Paris in a stretch limousine by his chauffeur Celine (Edith Scob), fulfilling “assignments” around the city. The angle is that Mr. Oscar is an actor, and his assignments are characters, each requiring precise and preposterous costumes as he seeks the ultimate performance, in front of invisible characters for an unknown audience. As the film progresses, Mr. Oscar advances through his list of jobs – an old beggar woman, an assassin, a businessman, a father, a dying old man, a deranged, violent monster who eats flowers and kidnaps supermodels – committing himself entirely to the art of character. We are never afforded an insight to who he really is, how he came to be, or even whether there is any reality in any of the situations at all.

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