Now on Netflix: Have You Experienced “Holy Motors” Yet?


Due to some dental work that has made me want to fall asleep, one more post revisiting some past work:

An Indiewire post on 2012’s best films now streaming on Netflix reminded me that it’s high time I watched “Holy Motors” again.

Here is what I wrote about it on when the film arrived on DVD/Blu-ray:

One of the cinematic bummers of living in Buffalo is that many great films never come our way, on the big screen, at least. The most egregious skip of 2012? Leos Carax’s stunning, hypnotic, visionary Holy Motors.

It is an almost indescribable pleasure—this Guardian article about the film’s debut at Cannes nicely summarizes just how wildly original Motors is: “Its first screening was greeted by boos drowned out by cheers, by volleys of ecstatic and furious tweets and by one big question: what the hell was it all about?”

I’ve now watched it twice, and I still find it hard to write, or even talk, about what this funny, sad, thrilling shape-shifter of a film is. There are links to Carax’s other films (the great Lovers on the Bridge, Pola X), and beyond (Eyes Without a Face). There is Denis Lavant, star of Lovers, giving the year’s most commanding male performance. (There are other more well-known names in the cast—Eva Mendes, Edith Scob, even Kylie Minogue—but it is Lavant who owns the screen.)

Calling it “bonkers,” as some have, is knee-jerk and limiting. It is not a joke, or a film that mocks its audience. It is something original and consistently engaging, and undoubtedly unforgettable. And yes, there are talking cars.

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