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Erstwhile enfant terrible of French cinema (THE NIGHT IS YOUNG, POLA X) Leos Carax’s first feature after a 13-year hiatus is a tour de force that disconcertingly melds reality, fantasy and voyeurism. Oscar (veteran French actor/clown Denis Lavant) is chauffeured around Paris by ice-cool Céline (the venerable Edith Scob) in her stretch limo-cum-theatrical dressing room.
In a series of jaw-dropping set pieces, he emerges from the limo in various guises – as an ancient beggar crone, an assassin, a balletic cyber-man, and many more. Oscar’s motives and true persona are tantalisingly ambiguous thanks to Lavant’s mesmerising performance, and there are impressively against-type turns from Kylie Minogue and Eva Mendes.
Carax playfully references his celluloid forebears, and Scob’s last scene reprises her role in Franju’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE. If you like David Lynch, Luis Buñuel, Charlie Kaufmann or David Fincher’s THE GAME, you’ll be delightfully dazed by HOLY MOTORS.