Thursday, 27 September 2012


Anyone who saw 2008's Tokyo!, a three-part anthology with contributions from Michel Gondry, Bong Joon-ho and Leos Carax, can't fail to have been delighted and disgusted in equal measure by the latter's co-creation (with his muse, actor Denis Lavant), "Monsieur Merde". Mister Shit, as he's known over here, was a grotesque sewer-dwelling goblin who terrorised the streets of Tokyo by stealing and eating cash and flowers, licking schoolgirls' armpits and assaulting disabled people to the strains of a jaunty ditty. He also spoke in an unintelligible screech and looked like Anne Robinson might if she hadn't had all those facelifts.
The good news is that Mister Shit makes a welcome reappearance in Carax's new film Holy Motors, and he's possibly the least insane thing about it.

It seems almost redundant to try and describe Holy Motors' plot, so I won't bother. Just know that it involves motion capture sex, a fantastic musical number played almost entirely on accordions, an assassin who kills himself twice (possibly even three times), a man who lives with monkeys, a stonking erection and Kylie Minogue. Yet it isn't really about any of those things.

What it is about, unsurprisingly, is largely open to interpretation. A final revelation offers some clue to the film's meaning, but it's both ambiguous and, to an extent, immaterial. What matters is that the preceding 110 minutes are as bold, inventive and buttocks-out bonkers as anything seen in cinemas for a long time.
Refreshingly unpretentious and enjoyable for what could easily be seen as art for art's sake, Holy Motors will nevertheless be a divisive film when it's unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Whatever your opinion, it demands to be seen, if only to provoke an argument about whether or not it's any good. Personally I still haven't decided.

1 comment :

  1. unpretentious?
    if you think this's unpretentious you gotta be livin on the moon or somethin, sippin french wines, eatin cheese and laughin at those stupid burger-eatin american peasants