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Holy Motors (2012)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 4 July 2012 (France)
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From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar.

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28 wins & 68 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mr. Oscar / Le Banquier / La Mendiante / L'O.S de la Motion Capture / M. Merde / Le Père / L'Accordéoniste / Le Tueur / Le Tué / Le Mourant / L'Homme au Foyer
...
Céline (as Édith Scob)
...
Kay M
...
Eva Grace (Jean)
Elise Lhomeau ...
Léa (Élise)
Jeanne Disson ...
Angèle
...
L'Homme à la tache de vin
...
Le Dormeur / Voix Limousine (as LC)
Nastya Golubeva Carax ...
La Petite Fille
Reda Oumouzoune ...
L'Acrobate Mocap
Zlata ...
La Cyber-Femme
Geoffrey Carey ...
Le Photographe / Voix Limousine
...
L'assistante photographe
Elise Caron
Corinne Yam
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Storyline

We see a few seconds of a black and white, silent art film. There is a dark movie theater filled with people watching this film. The camera mostly remains on the audience. Cut to a man sleeping on twin bed with a sleeping dog next to another empty twin bed with the same sheets. He gets up and looks out the window and we see he is next to an airport. One of the walls is covered in wallpaper with skinny bare trees. He puts his ear to the wall. There is a hole in the wall and he looks through it but we don't know if he can see anything. He has a metal instrument on the middle finger of his right hand. He sticks the instrument into the hole in the wall. His hand shakes a little and he turns the instrument. This allows him to open a door in the wall. The dog joins him as he steps through the door. There is a set of double doors and he steps through them. It seems as though he has stepped through the fire exit on the balcony of a movie theater, presumably the theatre that the film opened in...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

4 July 2012 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Sveti motori  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Oscar: I have a plan to go mad.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Katya, for you" with a picture of Yekaterina Golubeva during the closing credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #6.94 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

My Way
Written by Paul Anka
Performed by Denis Lavant and Edith Scob
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User Reviews

 
Magical head-scratcher
12 August 2012 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

It's going to be difficult to keep this short.

One of the darlings of the 2012 festival circuit, Leos Carax's Holy Motors delivers a pure cinematic experience designed to confront and challenge our understanding of the art form at every level. At the risk of over-simplifying a film that is anything but simple, Holy Motors is a film about the cinema as it stands today, and the deft ways in which Carax explores various aspects of his subject, whether addressing film- makers themselves, we the audience, or even the debate over physical versus digital media, are so rich and dense that it is impossible to absorb it all after a single viewing. As such it is sure to alienate and infuriate perhaps the majority of viewers, yet those who find themselves swept up in the abstract beauty of it all are in for an inspiring, enlightening, and at times overwhelming two hours.

Holy Motors follows a day in the life of Monsieur Oscar (a mind-boggling Denis Lavant), an actor whose roles seem to take place out in the real world rather than on the stage or screen. As Oscar is ferried from one assignment to the next by his faithful limousine driver Céline (Edith Scob), so too does writer-director Carax transport us to his next discussion point. Each surreal vignette is presented without much in the way of explanation, and Carax refuses to hold the hand of the audience, instead offering viewers the chance to piece the film together themselves. Similarly, Lavant's remarkable performance can turn without warning, shifting the entire film's tone from tragic to comical at a moment's notice, further disorienting the audience. While some of Oscar's 'roles' have illuminating punchlines to ease our understanding, the majority are much more conceptual, and will demand repeat viewings to unpack before Carax's intentions for the piece as a whole will become clear, if they ever will.

In a year where chatter surrounding huge tent-pole releases is choking social media and online communities, Holy Motors is the film that most deserves to be discussed, and debates about the film amongst cinéastes are likely already in full swing. While the audience who will really connect with the film is going to be comparatively small, nothing has offered this much to chew on for some time, and its value to those who appreciate it will only increase over time. Holy Motors cannot really be approached effectively in a brief review such as this, as it's not exactly an easy film to recommend or not given that each individual could potentially take something different from seeing it. But for those seeking a respite from the mindlessness of blockbuster season, seeing Holy Motors is a no-brainer. Carax almost forces the audience into an intellectual tug-of-war without ever feeling like he is talking down to us, rather that he wants us to reconsider the world of cinema, and not least of all our own place in it.

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