for desistfilm: Mónica Delgado

Denis Lavant, the men who incarnates many faces throughout the story, opens the door to a dimension where the mass primes: A film theater where focused and centered spectators watch a King Vidor film while a giant dog crosses the space. Here, Leos Carax recreates a key event, a film theater auditorium in which several extraordinary events (a dog, a baby learning to walk, the man who appears instead of the protagonist) cross themselves, as an unusual act that goes beyond exhibition, towards a lecture of cinema where it becomes a motor of the world, a constructor of archetypes, ways of thinking and feeling, that suffer the consequences of living in “modernity”, towards the desire of all identity suppression.

Holy Motors starts with a character waking up from a dream. This turns into a tale of a nightmarish narrative. The actor Monsieur Oscar (Lavant) lives inside a limousine and spends his life incarnating different characters throughout the day as part of his job, playing different roles, from a politician to an authoritarian family man, from a hired gunman to a nostalgic lover, within believable contexts. And so Carax presents Lavant as the man of a thousand faces, in opposition to the George Franju‘s faceless woman who he evokes at the end of the film. From the multi-identity to the suppression of the subject as a premise of the ideology that comes from the perception of cinema as a spectacle, if there’s something that Carax tries to tell us throughout the film, it is precisely the result of this machinery of bodies and thoughts (the inserts of Edward Muybridge works emphasize these mechanics of the physical body) and the alienation and mistrust in its mechanisms as a method of uprising.

Lavant is the film, he and his eleven faces, from a homeless old woman to the well-known Mr. Merde (from an episode of Tokyo!), from the killer to Kylie Minogue‘s boyfriend; they all go through the tale with their personifications, and we never know who is the real man or where the repetition ends. Cinema is, as is well symbolized by the limo driver (Edith Scob), the basic example of movement, in a route that only stops, like all industry, in escaping the mask but not escaping the “simulation” completely, waiting for a tomorrow where the routine of constructing doubles and formulas must go on. The existence of cinema itself.

Opening film of TIFF 53
Holy Motors
Léos Carax

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