August 24, 2012

Long white limousines had become the most unnoticed vehicles in the city (Holy Motors)

While we wait for it to finally appear after Prometheus-like levels of build-up, the shadow of David Cronenberg's imminent Cosmopolis seems to hang over everything. The Dark Knight Rises felt like a version of it and then there is Leos Carax's Holy Motors, a refreshingly strange and largely brilliant morning-to-midnight story of long white limousines prowling Paris, stopping for “appointments”, which are performances that put you mind of movie scenes within scenes or Matthew Barney doing Cremaster vignettes (Denis Lavant made-up as gnome, banker, killer, dying man, beggar ...). Often sublime and sometimes ridiculous – it wants to be a fantasy, a statement about life and death and longing, an examination of the urges of cinema, the ultimate Paris movie, even a musical – it is, at least against a Hollywood so eager to explain (Total Recall, The Adjustment Bureau, Source Code), wonderfully mystifying, often dreamlike and even – in a couple of places – unusually erotic. How often are you genuinely surprised?