By Megan Bianco
Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and Francois Truffaut’s Jules et Jim famously used metaphors and other techniques to carry the movies, having pioneered the look and feel of art and indie films for years to come. Foreign art films are often pigeonholed for being ambiguous, and the most talked about French film of the year, Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, is very much open to more than one interpretation, artsy, indie, metaphorical and fantastical all at once.
The picture focuses on character actor Denis Lavant, who plays “Mr. Oscar,” who transforms into 10 different roles from morning to evening. He begins as a beggar, then becomes a homeless man, a family man, a banker, an assassin and a dying old man, to name a few. In between these roles, he changes costumes inside a limousine while driving around Paris.
Screen legends Edith Scob and Michel Piccoli co-star and mainstream stars Kylie Minogue and Eva Mendes appear in cameos. Art films are almost the reason the term “love it or hate it” exists. Those who “get” them like them and those who don’t will feel like they wasted their time. Holy Motors definitely falls in line with that. Seemingly, the movie is about the struggles and gimmicks an actor must undergo to be convincing to an audience. Rather than just telling you, Carax and Lavant tell the story nonlinearly. Fans of Godard’s Masculin Feminine or Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, will likely be most appreciative of Carax’s film.