Holy Motors: the return of Leos Carax

Leos Carax © AFP

Without a doubt the nuttiest film in the selection”, according to Thierry Frémaux… Holy Motors is announced as an experience, a visual poem, a film à clef. And also, with Edith Scob, an escapee from Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face in the cast, a homage to cinema.


The image is immediately reminiscent of Tokyo!, the 3-sketch movie put together by Leos Carax, Michel Gondry and Bong Joon-ho. Denis Lavant, in his green overall, crawling out of a manhole: the hideous creature, the eponymous Merde, with one eye missing, long curly nails, spewing an incomprehensible language and sowing terror in the streets of Tokyo!


Extrait du film Tokyo !


The character is back in Holy Motors, but he is only one of the figures played by Mr. Oscar (Denis Lavant) who lives several different lives in the movie, including a big boss, a beggar, and a motion capture technician.


The return of Merde is also a wink at the film which helped Carax get back in saddle, nearly 10 years after Pola X. With five full-length movies in 28 years, Leos Carax is not a director who suffers from over-exposure. Yet his beginnings were more than promising and his first two films, which revealed a highly original universe and a great talent for direction, marked a whole generation of movie-lovers: Boy meets Girl and Mauvais Sang.


Extrait du film Boy meets Girl

Then came the very long, chaotic adventure of Les Amants du Pont Neuf  (The Lovers on the Bridge) which took 3 years to shoot and which gave him a reputation as an unlucky film-maker.


Extrait du film Les Amants du Pont Neuf


In the face of the problem of editing his most recent projects abroad and in English, Leos Carax took inspiration from his experience with Tokyo!  “Imagine a film that’s not too expensive, for an actor that you have already chosen”. That’s how Holy Motors came into being, after adding “one or two emotions, one or two scares and some questions too big for the film to answer”, he confided to Antoine de Baecque in 2004.


B. de M.



The film will be screened at 12.30 pm and 10.30 pm on Wednesday 23 May in the Grand Théâtre Lumière.