Holy Motors (2012)

The declarations of love for cinema were evident in 2011 with The Artist and Hugo. Holy Motors continues this, but focuses on the role of the actor.

The film shows a day in the life of Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), which although in his first scene appears to be a powerful businessman, is soon discovered to be an actor. The deception is intentional, since the first appearance of Oscar is already one of his characters. In the first few scenes, we see him receive his first “appointment” of the day, for which he prepares himself in his limo / dressing room.

Turns out that, in Holy Motors’ fictional Paris, the film is done completely impromptu. After receiving a file with information about the work, Oscar glosses alone and when the limo arrives at the designated location, he is already playing the role he was given. There are no rehearsals, cameras, scenarios or direction, because the world is his stage.

This shows the incredible talent and dedication of Oscar (and similarly we can observe the magnificent interpretation of Lavant) since, one scene for each role, he plays his character masterfully, jumping between musical, motion capture, dramas and action moview with a naturalness that impresses us.

But it has its costs for Oscar. In all this time he has only the company of his assistant and driver, Céline (Edith Scob). Since he interprets his characters without a break, like a 6.0 extended version of Daniel Day Lewis, Oscar really lives, and thus feel his character’s pains. In a quick dialogue with an executive for his studio, he says that he misses the cameras and the public, as if the scenes are done as a great live action rpg, there might be no more cinemas. “They say beauty is in the eye of those who watch,” says the executive. And he says, “what if there are no one watching”?

The questioning of Monsieur Oscar reflects the concern of the writer-director’s, Leos Carax, who has in Holy Motors his tenth directional work. I’d be a complete liar if I said I fully understood Carax’s work, with its series of symbols and messages that unfortunately escaped my understanding, as the cemetery with tombstones without the names of their dead, only messages “visit my website” (a possible social critic to the increasingly connected life, perhaps?). But in response to Carax’s pessimistic view about the direction of cinema , I would say that all is not lost, just look at the big movies released in the past few years, especially in 2012. And Holy Motors is certainly the best among them.

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