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. See more »
[exhorting his accordion band]
Trois! Douze! Merde!
[English: Three! Twelve! Shit!]
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Self-aware and self-indulgent, which makes for an amazing and flawed experiment
Holy Motors (2012)
A bizarre (and highly praised) film that is ambitious and inventive to the point of pain. I wish it was as brilliant as it intends. As we follow the leading character Oscar through a series of seemingly unconnected events, it struck me that the goal is simply to stage these odd moments, almost choreographed surreal adventures where he takes on different personae (with elaborate costumes). The events don't achieve what you might call depth or meaning. They are interesting—how could they fail on that score?—yet interesting turns out to be not enough.
Still, look for high style throughout, some terrific underworld insanity, some unfiltered sex and violence, and lots and lots of pretense. I have a feeling there are some people who might rate this among their favorite films and so I'd say give this a try. It might take half an hour to know whether the changing roles and scenes (and the self-indulgence) will keep you sustained.
Since Oscar is shuttled from one location to another in a stretch limo, you get the feeling he might just be a filthy rich eccentric who refuses to be bored with life. He admits he started doing this (every day, we get the sense) for "the beauty of the act," and this high level of aesthetic tension seems insufficient for the depravity involved.
This is a French-German enterprise, set in Paris. It has enough quiet moments to make you impatient, but from the pause it will take off on another romp. The actor has to be admired, for sure—Denis Levant, known for his boundary pushing roles (from Shakespeare to experimental film). The director, Leos Carax is likewise associated with the avant garde —and with Levant. But they have tried to keep their grand experiment traditionally cinematic, as well, so there are lots of ways to appreciate what's going on. The filming is sublime, the ambiance from lighting to set design is gorgeous.
There is that dangerous point in a art when a work gets so serious it demands of itself a kind of perfect to succeed. And there are so many little holes here, even some odd moments in the acting, it becomes almost laughable. At times. Which is too bad. There is a lot here to take quite seriously, I think. Then again, maybe it's meant to be an absurdist dark comedy all the way. Which means we're allow to laugh after all. Go for it.
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