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Holy Motors (2012) - Cedar Lee / Lemon Grass

Holy Motors (2012)
Written and Directed by Léos Carax
Indomina Releasing presents a film in French, English and Chinese, with English subtitles
116 minutes, No rating

Where: Cedar Lee Theatre
Who: Starring -
M. Oscar: Denis Lavant
Celine: Edith Scob
Kay M.: Eva Mendes
Eva Grace: Kylie Minogue
Man: Michel Piccoli

Official website:


Join Monsieur Oscar on his rollicking, soulful journey by limousine through the streets of Paris as he transforms into multiple characters for a series of mysterious “appointments”. Melding monster movie, film noir, romantic drama, musical, crime thriller, anime, Léos Carax’s mirthful, mind-bending masterwork is a ravishing fever dream of becoming, unraveling and starting all over again.

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man... He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part - but where are the cameras? Monsieur Oscar is alone, accompanied only by Céline, the slender blonde woman behind the wheel of the vast engine that transports him through and around Paris. He's like a conscientious assassin moving from hit to hit. In pursuit of the beautiful gesture, the mysterious driving force, the women and the ghosts of past lives. But where is his true home, his family, his rest? -- (C) Official Site

Rotten Tomatoes – 91 percent fresh (click here)

What: Holy Motors (2012)
When: Monday, December 3 @ 7 p.m.
Where: Cedar Lee Theater
Dinner: Lemon Grass @ 5:30 p.m.

We’ll take advantage of Cleveland Cinema’s special Monday discount pricing – just $6 for a regular adult ticket.

PARKING: Paid Parking in the rear lot and garage is now 24 X 7, so bring a couple of quarters. Credit cards work in the garage but at times, the line to pay can delay your arrival at the show. Plan on an early arrival. Many members park at a free city parking lot on Edgewood Road at the corner of Cedar, one block west of Lee Road.

6 p.m. – Lemon Grass, (arrive as early as you want. I'll be there around 5:30 p.m.) we’ll meet dinner, drinks & discussion before the film at Lemon Grass a 1-minute walk just south of the theater. Come as early as you’d like, just don’t be late. Although we’ll request separate checks, it is always best to bring cash to speed up the payment process.

Please let us know your dinner plans on your RSVP so that we can either save you a seat at the "Movie Group" table or plan to meet you at the movie.

Our new group will be successful partly because members have a genuine interest in meeting fellow cinema lovers for a discussion before or after the film. We don't always know where to look for you, especially those without a profile picture and first timers. If you don’t have a smiling face on your profile, you will have to find us.

7:20 p.m. Holy Motors (2012) at The Cedar Lee (Cleveland Cinemas), 2163 Lee Road just south of Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights.

Meet at the entrance to the auditorium 10 minutes ahead of time or look for the group inside the theater. We will sit in the upper level, center. The flick is 116 minutes, so expect to be out around 9:30 p.m. You may also meet us afterward outside the entrance door. If you RSVP, we will wait for you. If you do not have a photo posted, you will have to find us.

We have multiple meeting places: 1. Entrance door to the auditorium in the hallway 10 minutes before the movie starts, 2. By the Marquee (or auditorium entrance) after the movie, or 3. Reserved table at a restaurant under the name "Movie Group".

Since this is a brand new group, a word from your Organizers:

“We have costs associated with being on that we ask you to assist with. Our nominal $5 annual membership fee goes toward the charges and other related administrative expenses. Organizers are not compensated and contribute their time simply for the love of the art of film. Please be current on those fees.”

And, our sincere thanks to those who have paid!

If you are a paid member of our sister group, Music Cleveland! then your annual fee there will entitle you to a fee waiver here. It is your responsibility to so inform the organizer as our primitive systems have limited ability, as do our aged organizers


With HOLY MOTORS the visionary Léos Carax returns to the screen with
resounding force, following a period of more than a decade that saw only a short
subject, “Merde” — part of the TOKYO! triptych also including works by Michel
Gondry and Bong-Joon Ho — and a small role in Harmony Korineʼs MISTER

But it was the deliciously confrontational “Merde” (French for “shit”), featuring
recurring Carax player Denis Lavant as a sewer troglodyte amok in the streets of
Tokyo, which helped give birth toHOLY MOTORS, his first feature film since
POLA X in 1999. “The new film was born of my incapacity to carry out several
projects, all of them in another language and another country,” Carax explains.
“They all ran into the same two obstacles: casting and cash. Fed up with not
being able to film, I used “Merde” as my inspiration.” Carax thus set about
fashioning a project under similar conditions, exclusively in France: an
inexpensive film, made quickly, for a pre-selected actor.

The result is something unique on movie screens — a deliriously entertaining and
defiantly strange journey of the soul that careens through the streets of Paris
exuding comedy, mystery, romance, intrigue and melodrama. HOLY MOTORS is
a love letter to both the City of Lights and the flickering lights of movie magic
through the years, as embodied by one of the most mischievously original screen
protagonists in memory.


BY ROGER EBERT / November 7, 2012
Monsieur Oscar has his work cut out for him, and it takes on ever so much variety because he seems to live entirely within the cinema. OK, I grant you that all movie characters live inside the cinema, but not many live inside 11 different scenarios during the same day, shuttling between one "appointment" and another in the back of a white stretch limousine.

We know he lives in movies because we literally find him in one. Leos Carax's much-debated "Holy Motors" begins with a man (Carax himself) asleep in bed, then waking and approaching a wall of the room that looks like a forest. Knowing just where to look among the trees, he unlocks a door using a key growing from his finger. Well, isn't that what artists do? Unlock doors with their fingers?

Now this man is inside a cinema, and we meet Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), who lives in a house that seems designed by the same architect employed in Jacques Tati's "Mon Oncle." He gets into the waiting limo, driven by a taciturn woman, and we see that the back of the limo, seemingly much larger inside than the outside, is a dressing room filled with costumes and props. When he gets out the first time, he has transformed himself into a wretched beggar woman. This will be the first of his many roles, or assignments, or embodiments. He performs in bizarre and mysterious ways, linked only by the desire of a mime or comedian to entertain and amaze us. His "appointments" take him into personas so diverse, it would be futile to try to link them, or find a thread of narrative or symbolism. If there is a message here, Walt Whitman once put it into words: "I am large. I contain multitudes."

Here is M. Oscar as a madman wandering street markets and eating flowers or whatever else he can snatch up. M. Oscar in the most famous cemetery in Paris, Pere Lachaise, occupied by the dead and famous (Moliere, Chopin, Jim Morrison, Colette, Oscar Wilde). In "Holy Motors," however, the cemetery's tombstones carry no names, requesting us, to "visit my web site."

Here is M. Oscar transforming a fashion model (Eva Mendes) into a Muslim woman concealed within her costume. And that's not all that happens to her, although she adheres to the model's code and never betrays emotions or opinions. Her job is to embody a beautiful object for the purposes of others. Their travels through the city lead to the roof of the Samaritaine department store, producing stunning vistas of Paris.

Celine (Edith Scob), his reserved chauffeur, seems long accustomed to her role. Once she expresses concern that M. Oscar hasn't eaten all day. Their day began at dawn and lasts far into the night, one "appointment" after another.

This has been a year of leading roles for limousines. M. Oscar's car upstages the limousine in David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis," and the journeys of both cars seem to be odysseys through their cities, for purposes not very clear to the audience. "Holy Motors" is the more entertaining and funny of the two, although some parts are not funny at all, and many laughs are of disbelief or incredulity. Both end with their limousines going home for the night, answering a question asked in "Cosmopolis," although when the limo in "Holy Motors" gets home, its day is far from over.

Here is a film that is exasperating, frustrating, anarchic and in a constant state of renewal. It's not tame. Some audience members are going to grow very restless. My notion is, few will be bored.

Ciné Arts Cleveland! is Theater & Performance Art · Art · Irish Film, Classic Films · Italian Film · Film · Cinema and Films · British Film · Silent Film · Film Festivals · Foreign Films · Movies/Dinner · Independent Film · Arts and Entertainment · Books and Movies Discussions

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  • Bill J.
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