Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • 2012

Holy Motors

Film4 Holy Motors


Writer/director Leos Carax (Les amants de pont neuf, Pola X) returns with a melancholic reflection on the dreamhouse of cinema

Critic's Review

A man (writer/director Leos Carax) wakes to find, hidden behind the forest wallpaper of his hotel room, a door leading to a packed nocturnal cinema. What follows, whether it takes place on the cinema's screen or in the theatre of the man's still dreaming mind, is a surreal odyssey in which, over one long day and night, Monsieur Oscar (a sublimely versatile Dennis Lavant) travels in a white stretch limousine to his various 'appointments', donning a different guise – banker, female beggar, mo-cap performer, bestial monster, killer/victim, father, bandleader, anarchist, old man at death's door – for familiar-seeming scenarios scripted and staged before unseen cameras and an unknown audience.

The second film of 2012 (after Cosmopolis) to be set mostly in the back of a limousine, Holy Motors presents us with an everyman always in motion, not just because of the vehicular transport speeding him from scene to scene and genre to genre, but also because of his own postmodern, Protean nature. With the lines constantly blurring between where performance ends and reality begins, Carax's digitally-shot movie is a hall of mirrors, built from the recognisable images and ideas of films past, while driving forward into an uncertain future for the traditional machinery of cinema, ever at risk of being stored away in the dark. By turns bizarre, moving, funny and melancholic, Holy Motors is a meditation on movies, mutability and mortality, in which all the world is a screen, and we are each of us merely players.

In a nutshell: Carax's 'road movie' celebrates and laments the adaptability of both cinema and humanity, finding a strange beauty in every act.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Denis Lavant, Eva Mendes, Edith Scob
  • Director: Leos Carax
  • Writer: Leos Carax

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Carry On Jack

    Bernard Cribbins, Juliet Mills and Kenneth Williams star in Gerard Thomas's 19th-century high-seas romp, the first of the Carry On comedies to adopt period costume.

  • Film4

    Sherlock Holmes And The Secret Weapon

    Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Lionel Atwill star in director Roy William Neill's Second World War spy adventure.

  • Film4

    Youth on Film4

    Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Rachel Weisz star in Film4s first play of Youth, from acclaimed director Paolo Sorrentino

  • Film4

    Young Adult on Film4

    Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson star in Young Adult, playing on Film4 for the first time.

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • @_GrimGrinGhost Not since 2015. Still love their work, though!

  • We’ve another Western coming up – Two Rode Together starring James Stewart at 3.05pm. 🤠

  • Premiere alert! On Tuesday 28th, Michael Caine, Jane Fonda & Harvey Keitel star in Paolo Sorrentino's Film4-backed…

  • RT @TheGhoulFilm: TONIGHT is "The Ghoul" advance preview night. 6.30pm in cinemas across the uk. Find a venue here…

  • We screened @TheGhoulFilm at #FilmFear last year, and it's brilliant. Catch it if you can...