“I am alone, and they are everybody.”
I do not even know where or how to begin discussing Holy Motors. I heard of it when it came out two years ago and I had wanted to see it since even though I had no idea what it was about. I think I wanted to see it mostly because Kylie Minogue got her name on the poster and I just wanted to see what her acting was like.
From what I understood of the story it is about a man, Monsieur Oscar, who works for some kind of agency. For this agency he dresses up and acts as several characters throughout the day. All the characters he is to play are set up through appointments at various places throughout Paris. He begins his day as a wealthy man who is picked up from his family’s home by a limousine that is driven by a woman named Celine. Oscar seems to be a business man. He sits in the back of the limo talking to an associate and making some kind of deal. Then all the sudden Oscar brings out a wig, starts brushing it, and brings out a mirror. Soon he is dressed as an old woman begging for money on a Bridge in Paris.
After this woman the costumes and the situations become more bizarre and more mind blowing. He dresses as weird homeless, not even man but gremlin, and kidnaps a model in the middle of her photo shoot in a cemetery. A father picking up his young daughter from a party; twice he becomes an assassin; an old man whose niece comes to visit him. The last he goes to a home where his wife and daughter are primates.
My interpretation in some of the vignettes is that the agency he works for makes him dress up and act as these people as part of some sort of act for cameras or people that could be watching from somewhere. There is a scene where someone is in the limo with Oscar apparently from the agency and he tells Oscar that his acting is not what it used to be and Oscar responds that the cameras are becoming smaller and no one really pays attention. Also in some vignettes I was reminded a little bit of Faust as if he was Mephisto putting things into motion to set young Faust’s life down a specific path. Maybe the agency is like Mephisto leading a Faust towards a certain destiny.
The scene that Kylie Minogue was in was actually pretty good and a little sad. Her character is tragic. She was someone that Oscar had once loved and she loved him. Of course since she is a singer normally Minogue does sing a song. And her hit “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” plays in the scene where Oscar is a father picking up his daughter from a party. I did not even recognize Minogue at first she was wearing a short blonde wig and she was speaking French (quite well I might say. She did date a Frenchmen years and years ago).
The concept and plot for Holy Motors is definitely wide open to interpretation. Besides my Faust connection I really do not have any other interpretation of my own. It reminded me of some of the films the Surrealists made in the 1930s and Jean Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy. It has an artistic feel to it. There is meaning to Holy Motors but I am guessing only Leos Carax, the writer and director of the movie, only really knows what it is. Maybe one day I will bump into someone who has seen the movie and maybe we can have a chat about it and I might understand it better. I am not going to say skip Holy Motors. This is one movie that is an experience and I believe one that if you are really interested in movies you should experience.