Holy Motors

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(2012)

Film4: PREMIERE Tuesday 23 June, 11.50pm

Driven around Paris in a white stretch limo, Denis Lavant dons a variety of silly theatrical disguises as he keeps ‘appointments’ designed to shock and awe in and under the city streets. Like a Jeunot & Caro picture with all the life sucked out of it, Léos Carax’s arch arthouse prank is about as amusing as the arcane theatre of the absurd was back in the 60s, and it has even less of interest to impart on the human condition than the work of fellow cinematic eye-roller Lars von Trier. With Kylie Minogue in Jean Seberg mode, this film is so disreputably French it has an accordion interlude. It also has prissy in-jokes instead of genuine humour and, like a grotesque parody of an art school project or the ghastliest kind of ghost story, it is clearly influenced by Wings of Desire. Aiming for the layered mystery of David Lynch’s Inland Empire, it’s more like David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis on bad brown acid. Which is hardly a trip worth taking. It’s Carax’s first since the 1999 fiasco Pola X. His best film remains 1991’s Les amants du Pont-neuf and, apart from a sparky turn by Juliette Binoche, that wasn’t especially memorable. Tessa Louise-Salomé’s 2014 documentary Mr X follows at 2.10am, in which several notable talking heads (including Mr Lavant and Ms Binoche) tell us all about the lasting cinematic legacy of the former enfant terrible.

Certificate: 18
Duration: 111min