Holy Motors by Leos Carax
If people would ask me what would be the weirdest/strangest movie I could recommend to them, this would be it. I feel that this movie really challenged me in a sense that to try to understand it is to not even try at all.
Holy Motors by Leos Carax focuses on a man named Mr. Oscar who goes around France portraying different and quite unique characters in front of crowds without them noticing it is a part of an act. The movie calls these jobs of Mr. Oscar as ‘appointments’ while he goes around in a limo driven by the only other main character in the movie, Celine, that is used to transport him to different places around France. Each ‘appointment’ that Mr. Oscar goes to escalated from quite normal for the movie to down right strange. This also goes for the movie that became increasingly weird yet engaged me enough to want to know what he would do next.
The way the movie introduced its premise was quite slow, we first meet the protagonist leaving his home and immediately is told about his first appointment and he starts putting on make up and a costume. It is never immediately explained on how the main premise of this being a sort of ‘show’ until a man is in Mr. Oscar’s limo. They talk about the ‘business’ and how it is now changing. Mr. Oscar talks about how he “misses seeing the cameras” and how he is doing this for the “beauty of the act” as well which may come to the conclusion that this may have been filmed more obviously back then and was seen by a bigger audience and was quite popular back then. From simply becoming a beggar on the streets of Paris, to murdering a banker, and to finally coming home to a family of chimpanzees as his last appointment the movie is nothing short of bizarre and unique.
To understand this movie, I believe is to try and understand the weird and uncomfortable. To create beautiful acts or scenes is to embrace the oddity of what it all means. To create something beautiful through weird and complicated means may sometimes become too fantasized by those who want to try and be different and want to seem more inclusive of other kinds of art. Just as Mr. Oscar was portraying Mr. Merde, the photographer simply started taking pictures of him against a backdrop of wanting to portray the ‘weird’. It seemed as if he was forcefully trying to connect both the normal and unique odd-ball types of art forms. From this, a question that came on to me was “To what extent would people go to create beautiful art and what does it mean for art to be beautiful?”
The world continues to change together with its cultures and how people react to art. Society back then used to love the acts that Mr. Oscar portrayed through his appointments. From intimate scenes between father and daughter and another one of his appointments where he talks about life as an old dying man, which shows raw and true vulnerability in film to the outright bizarre craziness of biting off people’s fingers and murder action. But now, we have somehow embraced a different kind of art, one that is all about who and the amount of profit that can be garnered from it.