Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
How Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez Made Josh Brolin's 'No Country For Old Men' Audition Tape How Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez Made Josh Brolin's 'No Country For Old Men' Audition Tape 'MacGyver' Movie Reboot And New TV Series Pilot On The Way 'MacGyver' Movie Reboot And New TV Series Pilot On The Way Josh Brolin Says He's Starring With Jessica Chastain In A Movie About George Jones & Tammy Wynette Josh Brolin Says He's Starring With Jessica Chastain In A Movie About George Jones & Tammy Wynette Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video SAG Award Winners: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba & Brie Larson Also Score Big SAG Award Winners: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba & Brie Larson Also Score Big Review: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton & Ewan McGregor Review: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton & Ewan McGregor Mel Gibson Gave Nate Parker Advice On Making 'The Birth Of A Nation' Mel Gibson Gave Nate Parker Advice On Making 'The Birth Of A Nation' The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More

Leos Carax Says The Mysterious & Bizarre 'Holy Motors' Began With His "Rage" Of Being Away From Cinema For 13 Years

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist October 10, 2012 at 7:01PM

Chances are that you've never seen anything quite like "Holy Motors," Leos Carax's farcical but deeply felt odyssey through modern Paris (and his first feature in almost thirteen years -- you can read our review from Cannes here). At a New York Film Festival press screening for the film, Carax chatted with critic Amy Taubin and took questions from the audience, but those looking for answers to his deeply mysterious concoction will be left disappointed. Such is "Holy Motors."
2
Holy Motors, Leos Carax

Chances are that you've never seen anything quite like "Holy Motors," Leos Carax's farcical but deeply felt odyssey through modern Paris (and his first feature in almost thirteen years -- you can read our review from Cannes here). At a New York Film Festival press screening for the film, Carax chatted with critic Amy Taubin and took questions from the audience, but those looking for answers to his deeply mysterious concoction will be left disappointed. Such is "Holy Motors."

"Holy Motors started out of my rage of not being able to make films"

When asked about where the film came from, Carax was surprisingly forthcoming. "It started out of my rage of not being able to make films," Carax shot back. "I was supposed to make a film in London and that didn't happen. The idea was to shoot it very fast, which didn't happen because we had trouble finding the money." Later during the same discussion, when Carax was talking about the influence of author Henry James on the movie (there's a sequence in "Holy Motors" borrowed whole cloth from 'Portrait of a Lady'), the filmmaker revealed that the British production was set to be a modern day adaptation of "The Beast in the Jungle," a James novella that's largely considered one of the author's finest works. Carax paused for a beat and then said, "I don't think I'll ever do that."

"Holy Motors" charts the course of one "actor" (frequent Carax collaborator Denis Lavant, in a jaw-dropping series of performances, including a continuation of a character the two developed for the omnibus film "Tokyo") who inhabits many different roles in a single night in Paris. But don't tell Carax that the movie is about filmmaking -- a notion he disagrees with. "It's not about cinema," Carax grumbled. "The language of the film is cinema. I see it as a kind of science fiction with more fiction than science. It's a world not too far from our world but where it could seem, in one day, to tell the experience of being alive and in this world." Carax later elaborated on the sensation he was going for: "In one day, if [the film] succeeds, you're supposed to see all the feelings and emotions you're supposed to experience in a lifetime." 

Carax's movies are often known for their lush cinematography (particularly 'Lovers on the Bridge'), but "Holy Motors" marks the first feature the director has shot digitally (on the RED Epic, for the tech nerds out there). This was not a decision the director willingly embraced. "I had no choice. I had to give up film. Which of course is sad but that's how you live," Carax explained. "You have to abandon stuff all the time in order to survive. I'm not against cinema it's just that it was imposed on us and it's still ugly and nobody knows what to do with it or how to deal with it."

Holy Motors Carax 4

Part of the reason he had to embrace digital photography was because his longtime cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier passed away. Carax suggested it's not worth fussing with film unless you have a really great partner (he said that they were "brothers"). "Unless I have that relationship again, it's so much work, that if you don't have the right person, it's not worth doing," Carax said. "But the way with this film or the film I did in Tokyo, it's fast, not much money, and I never look at the dailies. Because if I looked at the dailies I would stop making the film or remake everything."

This article is related to: Holy Motors, Leos Carax, New York Film Festival , Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates