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Holy Motors 2012 ***

Leos Carax has had a special place in French cinema history since 1991’s The Lovers of Pont Neuf, and scored a notable cult hit with his baffling but beautiful Holy Motors in 2012. Possibly a day in the life of a versatile actor, possibly a history of French cinema, and possibly a thriller about identity, Holy Motors has a slew of bright ideas, from an odd recreation of a motion-capture shoot to a hotel-roof song from Kylie Minogue. A sequence in which Eva Menses is abducted by an aroused dwarf seems to hark back to Carax’s earlier work, if not French silent cinema circa Les Phantomas, but half the fun of Holy Motors is figuring out the references. And just when things are becoming clear, a climactic talking car sequence returns Holy Motors to the drawer marked ‘inscrutable’. Beautiful and original nonetheless.

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