Pretention and Reality

Starring Denis Lavant and Edith Scob, Leos Carax’ 2012 French-German fantasy drama film, Holy Motors, encompasses the blurred line between fiction and reality. For me, Holy Motors was a strange yet fascinating film to watch. At first, I was confused with why his job revolved around “impersonating” different characters and “freeing” these characters into the real world, where they become real and act like how they act. For instance, the weired imp he portrayed bit the finger of a producer’s assistant and kidnapped the model the media group was taking pictures of. At first, I thought it was a publicity stunt –  that Oscar was paid to create a scandal for publicity purposes of the media group. I also thought it was weird that the model he “kidnapped” did what he wanted her to do, but as I rationalized it, I thought that maybe she was scared of not following him or whatnot. However, going through the film, especially until Oscar’s boss appeared in his limousine, I realized that Oscar’s job is really to create a “reality” that people would believe in – although as his boss stated, people are starting to stop believing in their acts. Furthermore, their “gigs” were appointments, which in that moment started implying to the viewers that they were scheduled and that anything out of that timeframe did not consists of dramatics. This is where I thought it was unscripted or not pre-determined. When Oscar saw Eva when their limousines accidentally bumped into each other as they were going to their next appointments, I thought what they had was candid and real – they even talked about their next “appointments” and their child together. However, when Eva seemingly jumped with her “partner” and Oscar saw it, I realized that what was portrayed in the film about the two were, in fact, also fake – much like everything else. This leaves me to attach myself to the family that Oscar seemingly had at the start of the movie, hoping that he would go back to his “real” family, as I thought.

The film started with Oscar seemingly leaving his family and their big house to go to work. We could hear his child telling him, “Have fun! Work hard!” as he goes to his fancy limousine, with his driver waiting for him. As part of the audience, the said scene became my anchor throughout the film. For about two hours, I was awaiting for the moment he goes home to said family, from his strange work that seemed so weird and fascinating for me. I was waiting for the moment he would have that normalcy that I thought he had with his family. Imagine my surprise at the end of the film when he was appointed to another family – chimpanzees as his daughter and his wife in fact – implying that the family he had at the start of the film was also fake!

Conclusively, Holy Motors (for me) mainly focused on its existentialistic art by blurring the lines between real and fake. The actors do not have normal, stable lives, portraying different people with different lives in one day. They don’t have real families – or any physical and emotional connection to the world, really. The only thing they have connections with is their passion for their dramatics, which portrays anti-sentimentality in anything. In Holy Motors, nothing was ever as it seems. Heck, even the limousines were alive at the end of the film. However, I thought the limousine was very fascinating, and although it was as confusing as the other ones (with the exclusion of Good Bye, Lenin!), I can honestly say that I like this the best as of now – more than I liked A Woman is A Woman.

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