In Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, we get introduced to a filmmaker that has no intent in making the film watching experience easy for the audience. The film does not spoon feed the audience on what it is trying to say. I interpreted it in a way that the film is trying to evoke a reaction with the audience through its use of provocations. It can also be appreciated as a film that tackles the unwavering commitment of actors to inhabit their roles. Lastly, the film just captures a directorial vision that cannot be explained, but just showcase the film making talent of the filmmaker and the actors.
The first reaction that I experienced when watching the beginning of the film is that it confused me. There was no introduction to what we will experience, so it was really puzzling to find out what we are watching and what the images that is being shown to us mean. Throughout the whole film it depicts a man through provocative situations like kidnapping and murder. These scenes were not entirely narratively linear, but they did evoke a reaction from the audience. This process of provocation showcases that a film does not have to be entirely understood to catch the audience attention. This film effectively uses its powerful images without needing to tell a coherent story.
Another interesting thing I noticed is how the actors, both the real and fictional, totally committed to every role they were ask to depict. Both Denis Lavant and his character, Oscar, gives intense and diverse performances that really takes a lot out of an actor. What I appreciated most about this aspect of the film is the total commitment of the actor to do bizarre things like act crazy in a paris cemetery or participate in an erotic motion capture scene. My interpretation of this aspect of the film is that the filmmaker is trying to showcase the unnerving capacity of actors, especially method actors, to fully convey the roles they are assigned to and be directed without any question. It’s an interesting take on the unglamorous side of acting, wherein the actors face total transformation when they take up a role.
An interesting thing that I also like in the film is that it is most akin with the 60’s European films that we have watched, wherein it tries to redefine how films show be done. It appears to be the filmmaker’s uncompromised vision of what he is trying to say. I really appreciated that he is not giving us all the answers to understand his film. It really appears to be his vision and we the audience should just accept it as it is. The more I stopped trying to understand or interpret the film, the more I enjoyed watching the film. Accepting the absurdities as it is and no longer asking questions made the film such an exciting watch because of its unpredictable nature. It’s such a great experience to watch uncompromising piece of work that challenges the audience, but it also rewards the audience by giving them a visionary cinematic experience.
Enrico R. Barruela COM 115.5