Holy Motors by Director Leos Carax is due to hit British shores on the 28th of September, and I for one will be seeing it as soon as it hits the screens. A rousing talking point at this years Cannes Film Festival, not just because of it’s star appeal, boasting performances from Kylie Minogue and Eva Mendes, but, also because of it’s enticing cinematography and it’s mysterious outlay.
This intrigue is something that is completely lost in the world of Hollywood now. The phrase, ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’ comes to mind, and with it a deep sense that Hollywood believes it’s audience idiots. I do not blame the audience of course as theirs, and ours, is so dominated by this industry we are hardly given a choice in the matter. Advertising and distribution, so long dominated by Hollywood, leaves little chance for the foreign market to get a look in. Another element, I’m afraid, is ignorance. Too many times have I heard the phrase from various friends, ‘If I wanted to read something, I’d buy a book, mate.’ And as the list of amazing, modern, foreign cinema that I’ve seen grows by the month, it gets harder and harder to hear, to the point I want to physically shake some humility into people for what they’re missing out on. Again though, I lye the blame at hHollywoods door, maybe just because it’s easier to do so, rather than blame the majority of two english speaking nations. I feel increasingly in the minority with my feelings on this point. However, I believe if Hollywood challenge their audience a bit more it would have a knock on effect to the individual’s outlook on cinema.
If we wait for Hollywood though, we could be here forever... No.. Alright then, I’ll have a go at challenging, nay, daring you, to give French cinema, and especially Holy Motors, a deserved chance to entertain and delight you.
The phrase, ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’ comes to mind, and with it a deep sense that Hollywood believes it’s audience idiots.
French film, despite the language, can connect with you a lot more than the re-hashed fairytales of this painful era in Hollywood cinema (oh and the bloody comic books). Their subject matter and themes are so much more in tune with the world around you. This premise goes back to Hiroshima Mon Amore by Alan Resnais and Les Quatre Cent Coups (The 400 Blows) by Truffaut, the dawn of the French New Wave. Often dealt with also is the psychology of the human mind, although not a modern concept, it is something that has long been left behind by Hollywood with very few exceptions (Fight Club comes to mind, but that was in the 90’s!). There are many ways to delve into this exploratory subject of the human condition in a modern world and, in my opinion, French cinema does it best
Holy Motors is the story of one Monsieur Oscar, a character that lives many lives and guises from the back of his Limo. This is a postulation, some of you might already be aware of, from the film Dr Mabuse: The Gambler, a German film from the 1920’s. However, this character trait is where the similarities end, although the relevance of it is not lost. From all forewords on the film, it is a classical ‘mash-up’ much like the world cinema version of a Tarantino film, with the escapable narrative of a film like Amelie, cementing it’s ‘Frenchness’. This ability to ‘transport you to another world’ is what cinema is all about, no?.. So for me, this combination of exploring the human condition and transporting you from your everyday norms and conventions is what makes French cinema so... Beautiful! You often leave your viewing astounded and challenged by what you have seen and can often find something new with each viewing thereafter. A far cry from a Hollywood, that, if you show me that film one more time I’m going to bloody murder someone!
So embrace something from across the channel that isn’t just a chocolate croissant or a beautiful woman/man. The eclectic range of cinema can be savored like a fine wine and a selection of fragrant cheeses. Leave the frog bashing aimed solely at the cheaters on the football pitch and whatever other reasons you have. Give their cinema a chance. Any of the film’s I’ve mentioned here are a good start or wait until Holy Motors hit the cinema at the end of September and see the brilliance up on the big screen for yourselves.
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