Holy Motors (in French)

Rating = C+

Lots of real critics seem to really love this film. I didn't understand it.

It includes nine (or more?) mostly unconnected little stories with plenty of emphasis on the grotesque. It is dark both in terms of lumens and spirit. The connection between the stories (the man riding from appointment to appointment in a limosene while doing makeup for the character he will play in each new story) has its own ways of further baffling the viewer.

To enjoy the movie fully, one apparently has to have seen all of the director's prior movies to which there are apparently lots of references, or perhaps you have to have to be deeply knowledgeable about the prior movies of the actors in this movie or perhaps about movie history more generally.

As my wife said as the closing credits were running, “Where is the dramaturg when you need one?”

No doubt the director had lots of meaning (or at least references) in mind as he invented all these bits of stories and connections between them, but to me it seemed like he was throwing in everything, including the kitchen sink, if a self-indulgent effort to appear creative. The film is more a piece (or a lot of pieces) of performance art than it is a movie.

Despite how little I appreciate the film as a movie, I was engaged by it (albeit constantly wondering what it was about) from beginning to end.

[2012-11-15, Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA]