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Mon dieu! What was that??!! It was… it is about … err…

Leos Carax, where have you been? I remember when late in the 1990s, he came out with these visually and emotionally powerful movies, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf  and Pola X  I remember in particular. Seems he disappeared for a while since, and my guess is that it took him all that time to find the best possible way to fool his next movie’s audience. How he achieved this with “Holy Motors” is no small feat, the film is designed to look like a conventional business kind of thriller for the first 10 minutes, and then gets crazy. And then some more crazy. And never stops. We follow a day in the working life of Monsieur Oscar, driven around Paris in a white stretch limo by his driver Celine. He has a lot of “appointments” that night, and the nature of these appointments is what gives the film structure. There is an agency behind all this, and the agency is very keen on him going about his appointments with passion and dedication, they cannot afford for his professional spirit to flounder. It would be a shame to say more and spoil the fun of the voyage, but suffice to say that over the course of the film, with each appointment, the assessment of who Oscar is and what he is doing changes significantly, taking the audience a step closer to the “truth” each time.

Denis Lavant (also an old acquaintance of “Pont-Neuf” times) is at the heart of this, he needs to provide credibility to the absurdity of the plot through his acting. Which he does, full on, no breaks, no limits. This must be the dream part for any actor, and I am sure many would have killed to get it. From cool banker to crazy cannibal, romantic lover to leader of fantastic band of accordionists… he gives it his all, and he is fabulous! The film is fabulous, too, and I do not understand why it had so little international attention. An hommage to cinema itself, a masterpiece of acting and directing, a tour-de-force through all of life’s desires and despairs in the course of just one night…  when the film ended, when the final scenes provided some form of absurdist resolution and clarity, I was only laughing and thinking: what a great thing movies are!

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