☛ Les Films du Losange, official theatrical release poster for the French release of Holy Motors by Leos Carax, 2012, France/Germany, 1h55, color, DCP, Dolby Digital. See also the official press kit (PDF): French / English (the English press kit was retrieved from the Festival de Cannes official website).
Below is the official movie trailer with English subtitles:
Stéphane Delorme writes in the editorial for Les Cahiers du Cinéma (October 2012, no 682):
C’est drôle comme des mots peuvent resurgir quand on s’y attend le moins. Il y a quelques années, on n’aurait jamais osé employer le mot « poétique » : trop galvaudé, sucré, mièvre, désuet. Sa force éruptive était renvoyée au passé. C’est avec d’autres armes que l’on pouvait défendre un « autre cinéma », interrogeant plus frontalement les formes : le cinéma du corps, de la sensation, le cinéma d’avantgarde ou expérimental. Mais Holy Motors de Leos Carax, tout autant qu’Oncle Boonmee d’Apichatpong Weerasethakul, nous met le nez dedans : cette absolue liberté de la narration, ces tête-à-queue, ces naissances de monstres, ces événements mystérieux, ce rythme de rêve, ces jours et ces nuits dans la ville ou dans la forêt, cette absolue imprévisibilité des choses, pourquoi ne pas les appeler poétiques ? Car ces films se souviennent d’une vieille idée qui n’a hélas plus cours : on peut entrer dans une salle de cinéma comme dans un rêve. (read more)
The film is dedicated to Russian actress Yekaterina Golubeva who died on August 14, 2011 (her photo is displayed during the end credits of the film). Yekaterina, whom first name is sometime spelled Katerina, was Leos Carax’s partner in real life and played in numerous films, including Carax’s Pola X (1999), Bruno Dumont’s Twentynine Palms (2002) and Claire Denis’s L’intrus (2004). In Holy Motors, their daughter Nastya Golubeva-Carax plays the young girl who gets picked up by her father (Denis Lavant) after a party. In French see libération: “Décès de l’actrice Katerina Golubeva” August 18, 2011. In English see British Film Institute: “Obituary – Yekaterina Golubeva” by David Thompson,
There’s no doubt in my mind that David Hudson writes the most exhaustive and comprehensive reviews roundup there is when it comes to movies. He used to write at MUBI but has since moved to Fandor. As of now, he has written three roundups about Carax’s Holy Motors:
Our first round of reviews came straight from that Cannes premiere, the second from the film’s run in the U.K., coinciding with its engagement at the New York Film Festival. Today, Holy Motors opens in New York at Film Forum and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and, because it’s one of the cinematic events of the year, here we go round again.
Slate.fr: “A Cannes, la renaissance Carax” by Jean-Michel Frodon, May 16, 2012.
Slate.fr: “«Holy Motors»: sacré Carax” by Jean-Michel Frodon, May 24, 2012.
Le jeu des méandres, des citations, des échos est infini, on s’épuiserait à vouloir en dresser la liste ou la carte. L’essentiel n’est pas là, ni dans l’étourdissante virtuosité du travail de Denis Lavant. L’essentiel est dans l’enthousiasmant bonheur de faire que le cinéma advienne, s’enchante, se réponde à lui-même et ainsi ne cesse de parler toujours davantage des émotions, des peurs et des désirs bien réels des humains.
Slate.fr: “Leos Carax: «Jamais aucune idée au départ de mes projets, aucune intention»” by Jean-Michel Frodon, May 25, 2012. This is the interview that was use both in the French and English press kit (therefor, look for the English press kit for a translation).
The Guardian: “Cannes 2012: Holy Motors – review” by Peter Bradshaw, May 23, 2012.
Leos Carax’s Holy Motors is weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact. It is wayward, kaleidoscopic, black comic and bizarre; there is in it a batsqueak of genius, dishevelment and derangement; it is captivating and compelling.
The New York Times: “Cannes Film Festival: The Actor as Literal Shape-Shifter” an interview with Denis Lavant by Dennis Lim, May 25, 2012. That’s an interview with Denis Lavant (in English).
Collider: “Fantastic Fest 2012: HOLY MOTORS Review” by Matt Goldberg, Sept. 22, 2012.
There is a method to the madness, and madness to the method. It’s also a shared madness because an audience is forced to question what we accept as sanity.
The Telegraph: “Holy Motors, review” by Tim Robey, September 27, 2012.
It’s not for the faint-hearted or anyone who sets high store by conventional narrative logic. Like an aggressively doolally circus showman, Carax shoves us into our seats for an amusement-park ride through the subconscious, making pit-stops wherever he feels like it.
The Guardian: “Holy Motors – review” by Peter Bradshaw, September 27, 2012.
Holy Motors could be a multiple-personality disorder of the spirit, a tragicomic shattering of the self, caused by some catastrophe that has happened just out of sight, just beyond the reach of memory. But it’s quite possible it’s just bravura, imagination, fun. This is the theory I favour. It’s pure pleasure.
The Guardian: “Holy Motors – review” by Philip French, September 30, 2012.
It is, I think, a marvellous movie, vivid, witty, varied, puzzling, though not without its longueurs, and it uses the cinema itself as a metaphor for the journey of life, which some level-headed Anglo-Saxon audiences may find deeply irritating.
The New York Times: “It’s Not About the Destination, but About the Dizzying Ride” by Manohla Dargis. October 16, 2012.
It’s a gift for moviegoers to have this much freedom, and exhilarating. In Holy Motors you never know where Mr. Carax will take you and you never know what, exactly, you’re to do once you’re there. Sometimes you may be amazed or delighted; other times, you may feel restless or uninterested.
The New Yorker: “Leos Carax’s Astonishing ‘Holly Motors’” by Richard Brody, October 17, 2012.
It’s a movie that arises after the end of cinema, a phoenix of a new cinema. Few films have dramatized as wisely and as poignantly the art that, like the two reels at each end of the camera and the projector, gives with one hand and takes with the other. And few films give so harrowing a sense of staring death in the face and so exhilarating a sense of coming back to tell the tale with a self-deprecating whimsy.
Film Society Lincoln Center: “Is Holy Motors Cinema’s Elegy Or It’s Rebirth?” by Eugene Hernandez, October 17, 2012
“Enjoy the film,” Leos Carax said as the NYFF screening was about to begin. “Or not.”
MUBI’s Notebook: “Virtual Refractions 1: “Holy Motors” (The Living Screen)” by David Phelps, October 18, 2012.
Whatever the modernist principle here of making the mechanism visible, drawing all of a plastic society’s suppressed elements of industry, the underclass, and bodily functions back to the surface to wreck mayhem (as in Cosmopolis), the conceit here seems basically that these ruffians have themselves been incorporated into the mechanics like automatons at a theme park, that even their visibility is definitive condition as icons in the city’s spectacle-machine.
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