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Thursday, November 15, 2012

HOLY MOTORS

By D.E.Levine

A NYFF50 Selection

This is an entertaining but very strange film.  It never adds up but by the time the film ends you're shaken, mesmerized and convinced there's no need for it to add up.

Leaving his wife and house full of children one morning, Monsieur Oscar is picked up by his faithful chauffeur Celine and driven all over Paris where he changes his identity, his costume and his behavior.

Oscar starts out as a captain of industry, transforms into a gypsy crone beggar.  Moving to a digital production facility he becomes a ninja warrior who technology transforms into a reptilian sex god.  His next incarnation is as a troll, spewing gibberish and kidnapping a fashion model from a photo-shoot in the renown Pere-Lachaise cemetery, taking her through the Paris sewers to his underground lair.  Another identity is the melancholy father of a teen-age girl who is stalked by an assassin who intends to kill his doppelganger.  He also becomes a dying man and finally a thwarted lover who revisits an old flame on the roof of a department store next to the Pont Neuf.

Written and directed by the talented Leos Carax,  all of the different identities are played by one actor --- the superbly talented Denis Lavant.  In each personality, Lavant changes not only his clothes and sometimes his sex, but his voice, his stature and his walk.

The film is bizarre and entrancing.  Nothing is ever explained or made clear, it's all up to the individual interpretation of the viewer.  Lavant's characters are sometimes resurrected from other films where he first created and introduced them.

This may not be totally understandable or the greatest film ever made, but it definitely is a film that leaves the viewer thinking.