Postby CAP » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:50 pm

The best thing I’ve seen this year. Surreal black comedy by French maverick Leos Carax – his first feature in 13 years, boasting appearances by Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue and Michel Piccoli as well as starring Carax regular alter ego – Denis Lavant. But reviewers have a hard time with the story and pretty much shrug it off as just so much French whimsy. Intuitively, they know it’s at least consistent if not quite making obvious sense. But actually it’s not that hard to fathom. The title refers to the limousine service that delivers M. Oscar to a series of appointments in which he variously disguises himself for encounters with a range of women, for the most part. The notable exception being when he is called upon to murder his double - and significently, just as he disguises the dying man as himself (a matter of shaving and haircut) the murdered recovers enough to murder Oscar in exactly the same way. They lie next to each other, identical corpses. Very Cocteau. Very French.

Yet death too is just a phase, an appearance, sooner or later they walk away from - or are holy motored to the next appointment. Oscar remains a soul in transit, in sacred transport, between moments when he achieves fleeting identity through a relationship. The point is actually spelt out in Kylie Minogue’s song (she another Holy Motored soul) where she asks who they were when they were, who they were. It's a song of deep regret. There is no more identity for them than that they can muster to meet a partner, even briefly. And their versatility in these disguises is formidable. But the point is that they do not simply transform themselves into different people – they are simply a person with endless disguises; that has no basis or reality outside of the limousine. They never quite die; fatally, cannot stay, are finally, eternally alone, astir.

It is a bold poetic or metaphorical conceit, in the Surrealist tradition really. Godard’s Alphaville would surely enter the provenance somewhere, another poem to Paris, as would Malle's Zazie Dans Le Metro. At the same time, Carax’s Paris is never too remote or fantastical, there are episodes among the high rise housing of the suburbs, in the sad hulk that was Le Samaritaine, in the First Arrondissement. The gutted department store also notably overlooks Le Pont-Neuf, the scene of the director’s 1991 feature – Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. Carax’s talent is really for getting the mix just right, for mixing the quotidian with the bizarre, the brutal with the tender, the erotic with the grotesque, the comic with the tragic. It is, most assuredly, a masterpiece. :D
Last edited by CAP on Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby jasperjoffe » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:36 am

never eard of it, but will look for it now
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