I was supposed to introduce the enigmatic Holy Motors at the Brattle when a wild blizzard appeared. Oh well, I get to give you my spiel in print, while director Leos Carax talks about the movie on Feb. 23 at the Harvard Film Archive.
I guess he knows the picture better.
Holy Motors stars Denis Lavant and Édith Scob as actor and limo driver, respectively. The actor reads his assignments and gets into costume and character before hopping out of the limo for various scenarios. Some of the scenes look and feel like an authentic drama—prayers on a deathbed, a tense father-daughter argument—while other moments are wildly staged, like sex scenes and fights with criminals. But they’re just roles the actor plays in a day’s work. After each assignment is finished, he’s picked up by his driver and shuttled off to his next job.
Beneath the awe-inspiring execution, it’s dizzyingly profound.
Is the driver the industry, pushing its worker from one project to the next? Is the actor a stand-in for the director, his career, or his audience? Then there’s the limousine: the bulky, outdated monstrosity that ties the movie from scene to scene. You could have a philosophical field day with Holy Motors and still have a different view from the person beside you.
This is only one of the films showing at the Harvard Film Archive as part of their Carax showcase. Don’t miss Boy Meets Girl, Bad Blood, or The Lovers on the Bridge for a more romantic (albeit equally strange) side of Carax’s work. Plus, in case you’re busy for Holy Motors‘s Carax appearance, you’ll have another chance to catch him at the screening of Bad Blood the next day.
HOLY MOTORS AND LEOS CARAX
THE HARVARD FILM ARCHIVE
24 QUINCY ST.