Holy Motors is by far the weirdest and strangest film I have ever seen. Most of the movies we watched in class also fall under ‘weird’ and ‘strange’, but this one was the most challenging one for me in terms of understanding the film and keeping myself engaged with it. When our professor warned us before the movie started that this one won’t be easy to understand and that we should focus on the acting and performance instead, I already knew I wasn’t going to like this movie or the experience of watching this particular one. True enough, I found myself really disturbed and confused. It felt like so many things were happening in the movie and I couldn’t keep up.
The film was generally about a man named Mr. Oscar and his “appointments” where he would dress up and act out different roles in each of these appointments. He started off as an old beggar, becomes a motion capture actor, then turns into a madman in a green suit, and plenty more roles. None of these roles were connected to one another, but each one was played out with so much effort and passion that his role playings or acts felt like they were real and were actually happening to him. He was so invested in each of his roles to the point that he bit a finger off of one of the photographers’ hand in his appointment as a madman and kidnapped the model, and even to the point of stabbing and killing in his other appointments.
Before Holy Motors, I have never watched a film that was “not meant to be understood” in terms of its plot and storyline. Films to me are meant to entertain in a way that tells a story and manifests this concretely through the actors living out the plot. Although Holy Motors probably did have a story, our attention wasn’t meant to be drawn to it, but rather to the performance of the actors themselves, particularly Oscar’s. Although this movie really weirded me out, I can’t deny the fact that the performances were truly remarkable. As I said, all his acts felt real even if none of those roles were indeed his actual life. I guess the point of this film is to show how flexible art can be expressed, and the different beauties that come with passion for someone’s art. But one thing I noticed in the film aside from the all out performances was how Oscar didn’t really look happy doing what he does. He looked tired way more than he looked like he was fulfilled with his career. Having said this, I believe it’s also a reality that many people are faced with when doing things we love to do. We aren’t robots; we also get tired even when it’s from doing something that means a lot to us. But sometimes, when it’s really the thing that makes us most magnanimous, it doesn’t mean that we should just stop. Oscar says this himself when he was asked why he continues to do what he does, and he says that it’s because of why he started.
Overall, the film was a challenge to watch, digest, and write about. But I believe this is what I signed up for when I took this class. So although there was difficulty, I’m still looking forward to the rest of what this course has to offer.