Don’t Let Holy Motors Open Without Celebration

I can feel a mousey indie attitude, a lowballness, a lack of thunder and swagger coming out of Indomina‘s pre-release campaign for Leos Carax‘s Holy Motors (10.17 in NYC). This is one of 2012′s great films, the L’Age d’Or of our time, a landmark madhouse flick. It can’t just be another indie sparkler that opens and closes and goes straight to VOD and Netflix…please. Attention must be paid. Trumpets must be sounded.

Holy Motors is so much bolder and more inventive than Argo or Silver Linings Playbook or Life of Pi it makes me sick to think of the likely disparity in terms of reception and box-office. Les Miserables may wind up as the most popular broad-consensus Best Picture winner of 2012, but Holy Motors is an unhinged free-for-all for the ages.

You should have been in the Grand Lumiere when I saw it during Cannes Film Festival, and to be among a crowd clapping and cheering on their feet when it ended. This. trust me, is what Holy Motors deserved. It doesn’t deserve to just open in a small theatre or two like a church mouse and then just dribble away and end up on VOD, and Netflix.

From my 5.23.12 review:

“I got out of the noon showing of Leos Carax’s Holy Motors about 100 minutes ago…holy moley! Holy Paris, holy Trip City, holy nocturne, holy inferno, holy freedom, holy holy, roly poly, put on the wackazoid. Holy white stretch limo. Holy wigs and fake beards and long nails and spirit gum. And holy Denis Lavant, Eva Mendez, Kylie Minogue and Michel Piccoli! Dali/Bunuel/Lynch/Carax live large. Welcome to Holy Nuttervile in the best, most spirit-releasing sense of that term.

“It’s basically a dreamscape movie about a possibly wealthy guy named Oscar (Lavant) whose job it is to tool around Paris in a big white limo and pretend to be other people, complete with first-rate makeup and latex and wigs and you-name-it. It’s the inner life of a mad director (i.e., Carax) who’s letting his imagination run wild.

“Who pays Oscar or why he would be rich doing this kind of thing, or why he goes home to a small white condo and has two chimpanzees for children instead of the two or three human kids he waves goodbye to in the beginning…forget all that. This movie is about playtime. Anything can, will and does happen, and reality has nothing to do with it. And yet it feels grounded in the stuff. It’s ‘loony’ but believable. And very handsomely shot.

“If only an American filmmaker was this mad, this imaginative, this unchained, this willing to leap. I wonder if any American has it in him or her to create something like this. If he or she did, Americans would probably say ‘what the fuck?’ and stay away in droves. It’s in the realm but well beyond anything David Lynch has ever done.”

3 thoughts on “Don’t Let Holy Motors Open Without Celebration

  1. Dredd 3D‘s actually pretty awesome — just caught up with that today. Also pretty ballsy that a (semi-) major studio release would have its leading actor wearing his helmet for its ENTIRE RUNNING TIME.

    As for Holy Motors — I’d really love to check this out in a theater, but it’s literally playing nowhere near me. Bad release strategy; it doesn’t stand a chance (even in a slow-burn, word-of-mouth kinda way). Bummer.

  2. to be fair, Jeff has mentioned the film since Cannes, by suggesting that David Lynch should come out of semi-retirement to do a remake and thereby ameliorate American cinema’s lack of original ideas

    and yeah this movie has no shot whatsoever at the Oscars, I wouldn’t mind seeing something like Lynch’s campaign for Inland Empire but it would be at the same level of futility

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