Holy Motors

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Original title Holy Motors
Country of production France
original language French
Publishing year 2012
length 115 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Leos Carax
script Leos Carax
production Martine Marignac
camera Caroline Champetier ,
Yves Cape
cut Nelly Quettier

Holy Motors is a French film directed by Leos Carax in 2012. Denis Lavant plays the leading role as a man who jumps back and forth between different parallel lives. It is Carax's first feature film since 1999. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or in Cannes in 2012 .


Denis Lavant plays the mysterious man Monsieur Oscar in Holy Motors , who, like a normal businessman, says goodbye to his family and Celine ( Édith Scob ) in a limousine to work on the morning after a night full of restless dreams about the beginnings of cinema and breakfast is picked up. But instead of going to an office, his work leads him into different lives, for which Monsieur Oscar prepares himself in the limousine, changes, puts on make-up, dresses up. Holy Motors accompanies Monsieur Oscar for a day on his drive through Paris and through the lives of various, more or less surreal characters. This is how Lavant plays or transforms Monsieur Oscar u. a. into a beggar woman, into an abstract dancer in an erotic and yet highly abstract motion capture dance scene, in "Monsieur Merde", a kind of monster that disrupts a photo shoot in the Père Lachaise cemetery and model Kay M. ( Eva Mendes ) in kidnapped the Parisian underworld. He is the father of a teenage daughter, a hit man who kills himself in another role as a victim, and much more. In Holy Motors, Leos Carax is not interested in a conventional plot, but creates a film that follows a kind of “dream logic” with a “hallucinatory plot”. The confusing plot of Holy Motors cannot be logically deciphered and is used, among other things, as a "commentary on identity and personality", as "a wild and grotesque celebration of cinema that basically goes beyond any summary and can only be seen and not described" or interpreted as "a beautiful and ugly love poem to the cinema".



Before making Holy Motors , Leos Carax had spent five years trying to raise enough money to make a major English language film. When the investors reacted rather cautiously, however, Carax, whose last feature film Pola X was from 1999, decided, frustrated, to first make a smaller French-language production in order to regain international fame. Inspired by the episode film Tokyo! , for which he had shot an episode, Carax decided to write a cheap film for his longtime companion Denis Lavant. Carax managed to reassure potential investors who were worried about a too high budget by digitally shooting what it otherwise rigorously rejects.

The original concept of the film was based on Carax's observation that more and more stretch limos were booked for weddings. The director was fascinated by the size of these vehicles. “They're old-fashioned, like old futuristic toys from the past. I think they embody the end of an era, the era of huge, visible machines. ”From here the idea of ​​increasing digitization of society arose; a science fiction scenario in which organisms and machines partake of a general abundance. The opening scene is inspired by a story by E. T. A. Hoffmann about a man who discovers a secret door in his bedroom that leads into an opera.


Carax said of the lead, which was written specifically for Lavant, “If Denis had said no, I would have offered Lon Chaney or Chaplin . Or Peter Lorre or Michel Simon . ” Édith Scob had previously worked with Carax for Die Liebenden von Pont-Neuf , but was almost completely cut out, which is why Carax felt that she owed a bigger role. He was also of the opinion that Holy Motors owed a lot to Georges Franju's eyes without face , in which Scob also played. So hiring Scob for Holy Motors was a bow to this film. The figure Kay M. came from an unrealized project with Lavant and Kate Moss , that of the Merde figure from Tokyo! to the USA should follow. Carax offered Eva Mendes this role after they met at a festival and decided to shoot a film together. On Kylie Minogue Carax's attention because Claire Denis had proposed for a coated project. The role of Michel Piccoli was originally intended to be played by Carax himself, but he decided it was misleading for a filmmaker to star in his own film. When Piccoli was selected for the role, he was supposed to be unrecognizable and appear under a pseudonym, but his appearance did penetrate the media.

Shooting and post production

Most of the film was shot in Paris. The shooting took place from September to November 2011. The song Who Were We? by Kylie Minogue was written specifically for Holy Motors by Carax and Neil Hannon of pop group The Divine Comedy . The soundtrack also includes previously released music by Dmitri Shostakovich , the Sparks , Gérard Manset, RL Burnside and the track Sinking of Bingou-Maru from the movie Godzilla .


The film premiered on May 23, 2012 in competition at the 65th Cannes Film Festival . Variety reported that the film was greeted with “hoots and screams” and “stormy excitement from critics on Twitter ”. The film opened in France on July 4, 2012 with Les Films du Losange.

The German theatrical release took place on August 30, 2012 at Arsenal Filmverleih .


Holy Motors received numerous positive reviews when it was released. In Zeit online from May 23, 2012, Wenke Husmann calls the film “crazy, funny, clever and beautiful” and writes: “Leos Carax may film a deeply disturbing idea, but it gives it so much poetry and humor that one likes to rely on it Experiment. "For Tobias Kniebe of the Süddeutsche Zeitung , who saw the film in Cannes, Holy Motors is " a trip to the limits of cinema and a little beyond [...], the strangest and most poetic and yes, the funniest [ …] What you have seen here so far ”. Susanne Ostwald calls Holy Motors a “bizarre stroke of genius” in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung , and Michael Kienzl praises the film on critic.de: “ Holy Motors is an untamed monster, rich in impressions, narrative tones and levels of meaning. Many of them cannot be adequately described, but have to be experienced. And after all, that is one of the nicest compliments you can give a film for a film: that it succeeds in creating images that can no longer be grasped with the means of language. "Oliver Armknecht describes Holy Motors as a" fascinating, often surreal mixture of various genres ”, which“ so consistently disregards all boundaries that any comparison is pointless - and that is exactly how it stays in the memory ”.

In 2016 Holy Motors ranked 16th in a BBC poll of the 100 most important films of the 21st century .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Approval certificate for Holy Motors . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , August 2012 (PDF; test number: 134 417 K).
  2. Official selection in Cannes 2012
  3. ^ Criticism in Filmstarts.de
  4. ^ Criticism in Filmstarts.de
  5. ^ Die Zeit online, May 23, 2012
  6. ^ Guardian, May 23, 2012
  7. Kino-Zeit.de
  8. Holy Motors on critic.de
  9. a b c d e f Official press booklet of Wild Bunch ( Memento of the original from December 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 4.3 MB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.festival-cannes.fr
  10. ^ Screen International
  11. Screenings Guide Cannes 2012 (PDF; 959 kB)
  12. Justin Chang : Article. In: Variety , May 22, 2012
  13. Allocine.com
  14. ^ Wenke Husmann: Critique. Time online , May 23, 2012
  15. Tobias Kniebe: Criticism. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 23, 2012
  16. Susanne Ostwald: Critique. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , May 28, 2012
  17. Michael Kienzl: Criticism. critic.de on May 23, 2012
  18. Holy Motors on film-rezensions.de