Dir: Leos Carax, 2012, France, 115mins
Leos Carax’s wilfully delirious love letter to cinema – enfants terribles don’t get older they just get weirder.
Over the course of a single day, Monsieur Oscar travels by limousine around Paris to a series of nine “appointments,” transforming into new characters or incarnations at each stop. Fetched in the morning by Celine, his trusty chauffeur on this surreal journey, Oscar begins the day as a captain of industry.
Then he becomes a gypsy crone, begging for spare change on a bridge over the Seine. Inside a digital production facility, he’s a ninja warrior transformed by cutting edge technology into a reptilian sex god. Next he’s a gibberish-spewing troglodyte who kidnaps a fashion model from a photo shoot in Pere-Lachaise cemetery, ferrying her to his underground lair in the sewers. Then he’s the melancholy father of a teenage daughter, followed by a shadowy assassin sent to kill his own doppelgaenger, a dying old man, and finally a thwarted lover revisiting a flame from his past atop a decaying Right Bank department store next to the Pont-Neuf.
Monster movie, film noir, romantic drama, musical, crime thriller, futuristic sex fantasia… HOLY MOTORS is all of these and, then again, none of these. It is a ravishing, shape-shifting, fever dream of becoming, unraveling and starting all over again. From celluloid magic to the digital data stream, Monsieur Oscar’s epic journey of the soul is all of our dreams.