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Here's The U.S. Trailer To HOLY MOTORS!

Nordling here.

So what is HOLY MOTORS about?

I get asked that question every time I talk about Leos Carax's wonderful film.  And the fact that people ask it tells me something interesting.  For most everyone, narrative is the most important aspect of cinema.  They need to know what they are committing to before they sit down to a movie.  Everyone does to some extent.  I do it.  So I understand the need for people to know just how to make HOLY MOTORS fit in that respect.  I think people are more risk-averse to movies now more than ever.

It wasn't always thus.  For many, the world is just too complicated for them to sit down to something truly unique and explorational; they'd rather just see something so they can escape from the troubles of the day.  And that's perfectly acceptable.  But true film fans ache for something to challenge them, to show them something they've never seen before, to introduce to them ideas that they had never considered.  HOLY MOTORS does all of that.

The movie is actually quite intimidating to me - I have opinions about certain sections of the film and what they mean, but I'm almost embarrassed to say because I might be wrong.  It's definitely not a casual film.  It demands your attention and thought.  But at the same time, it is also a celebration of everything we love about cinema and its true power to take us to places we've never been before.  I want to see it again very badly, and I want it to transport me as it did that first time.

So what is HOLY MOTORS about?  Stripped down, it's about one man (Denis Lavant, in one of the most amazing performances of the year), many identities, and how those identities fit into the larger scheme is best discovered in the course of the movie.  But it's also about just what great cinema can do.  It's also a movie that you just have to let happen to you.  Simply trying to crack the narrative means you're missing some great stuff.

I realize that most of this sounds like pretentious horseshit, but HOLY MOTORS really isn't.  It's a beautiful piece of art that should be experienced, and for me, HOLY MOTORS proves that cinema, pure unfettered cinema, is as relevant as it has ever been.  Here's the US trailer:

Nordling, out.  Follow me on Twitter!.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:08 p.m. CST

    I need to see this

    by Anthony Torchia

    this is usually not my kind of film but everyone is raving about it, and i'm due for a mindfuck Thanks!

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:12 p.m. CST

    and mysteriously ...

    by Anthony Torchia

    this article has disappeared from the main page, no one knows it's here but me oh, the power, but what do I do with it?

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:14 p.m. CST

    wow, dunno how long it will last but this article is all mine!

    by Anthony Torchia

    well, mine and Nordling's, he wrote the blessed thing, I'm just coming along for the ride You have good taste dude, it closely matches mine, so your recommendation has weight, I just need to find someone to see this with

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:15 p.m. CST


    by Anthony Torchia

    and you deleted my other comments! Waaa!

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:17 p.m. CST

    anyway ...

    by Anthony Torchia

    thanks for the recommendation, I will likely see it, people are raving about this biscuit

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:18 p.m. CST

    U R confusing me!

    by Anthony Torchia

    now my other comments are back! Help, I am losing my mind! It's gone now, whew! This is so much better ...

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:28 p.m. CST

    looks like they found the car park from cosmopolis

    by kingoflight

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:30 p.m. CST

    that motion capture scene

    by Burnam

    was that tron 2?

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 7:51 p.m. CST

    No thanks.

    by JediWuddayaknow

    Yeah, this looks obnoxious and pretentious as hell. No thanks.

  • I was hoping for crazier visuals (a la Jean Pierre Jeunet, as in the Mic-Macs trailer) or just general wackiness but either more bombastic or more polished. Sweet Movie, Into The Void, A Sad Trumpet Ballad, A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop ... now those are far-out movies that really set up an alluring, distinctive look -- and I'm not seeing anything like that here.

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Apparently Denis Lavant is going to be in the AVGN movie


    That would be pretty weird.

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 9:11 p.m. CST

    who is that weird dude in the green??

    by bluepizza

    and why does he look so familiar???

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 9:21 p.m. CST

    My eyes! My ears! What happened?!? DO IT AGAIN!

    by Sprell

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:33 a.m. CST


    by Crobran

    If you have to ask that question, you're missing the point. Kidding ;) I have no idea, but he has ugly feet. Actually, he looks a little like Joe Pantoliano.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:36 a.m. CST


    by CodeName

    I saw that in college. Felt like I had a total recall of coming out of my mother's womb. I hope to never watch a movie like that again.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:42 a.m. CST


    by Crobran

    When were you in college? I saw that movie a long time ago, much closer to its temporal context, and haven't seen it in a long time. I wonder how it would hold up if I saw it again. I thought it was great back then, though.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Not as pretentious as it looks

    by Niall

    Saw this in Edinburgh a few weeks back, really enjoyed it. If you can resist the temptation to understand what's going on, and just go with it, it's quite a rewarding trip. Funny too.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Codename: also...

    by Crobran

    ...Brazil has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That's rarified air up there.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:54 a.m. CST


    by CodeName

    I'm saying that Brazil worked for me. Sorry for the sarcasm. The part where De Niro shows up, holy moly. That scene was great. Gilliam, in my mind, is the last bastion of experimental filmmakers who made it.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:56 a.m. CST

    John Dies at the End looks promising.

    by CodeName

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 1:19 a.m. CST


    by Crobran

    Ah - Missed the sarcasm, but sarcasm is always fun. Yeah, it was really strange to see De Niro pop up in the middle of that weirdness, and it made the movie that much more surreal. I remember thinking "Is that really De Niro? What's he doing here?" Sadly, I haven't seen any Gilliam since...probably 12 Monkeys, which was a good film, but Fisher King and Baron Munchausen stuck in my head more. I need to see Imaginarium, since it's on Netflix.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 1:19 a.m. CST


    by Jon

    That's Denis Lavant playing Merde. If you've seen the anthology film Tokyo!, you'll have seen Leos Carax's short film Merde based all around that character. Lavant's the main character in this and many other Carax films but you may also know him as the homeless dude in the Glazer-directed U.N.K.L.E. music video for Rabbit in Your Headlights. Personally, that 40 minute segment of Tokyo! was my favourite (and by itself, one of my favourite films) and the piece that turned me onto Carax's work. I thought it was a brilliant skewering of xenophobia and hilarious to boot. I went back to watch some of his other films (Lovers on the Bridge and Pola X) and while they are both interesting works (the latter flawed), they're definitely more conventional than this appears. I, for one, am pumped either way though. The most interesting, daring films are often ones that are not easily summed up in a 2 and a half minute tease. It's unfortunate that people have no imagination. Anything that doesn't look like a clear, safe Hollywood narrative is often dismissed as "pretentious". I think what's pretentious are people who can't see past this narrow idea they have of what film should be.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 2:52 a.m. CST

    If you like Gilliam (and only if you do)

    by djscott95

    Do yourself a favor and see "Tideland". Gilliam attempted to make a film about how children will adapt to the horrors in their lives and make things good. He made a very adult film that drives that theme home perfectly, featuring an amazing performance from his lead actress. It was dismissed as a film that puts children in horrible situations and exploites them. The critics missed the point. It is one of his best films. I would put it up against "Brazil" and "The Fisher King" any day. Watch it and tell me I'm wrong.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Holy Mugatu

    by Pigdog

    Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 4:57 a.m. CST

    Fashion does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Thats a beautiful looking film but if it wasnt for the constant quotes from reviewers telling me its awesome I probably would come away from that trailer thinking it looks like a pretentious puddle of piss. The quote from Vogue, the general Frenchness, and some of the cast makes it actually look less like a movie and more like a 90 minute fashionista showreel. The photographer guy orgasming over photographing the green suited guy with one eye.... no. Just no. I'll probably catch it on TV one day but I dont think this films for me.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 5:40 a.m. CST

    Hey its got Kylie in it !!!

    by Timmid

    Actually I'm not sure I get a pretentious air from this film. Looks like somebody is just going as mad as they can with the medium of film and there may well be some memorable moments in this. Doesn't sound like there is a coherent plot per se so it would be just a case of going along for the ride. Problem will be that that arty crowd will want to make a big deal of it so you could find yourself liking it for the sheer exuberance of it but having to suffer the fact that pretentious areseholes will find some other ridiculous philiosophical reason to like it.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 5:59 a.m. CST

    I'm surprised they didn't rename it Holy Motors: Redemption.

    by Knuckleduster

    Or Rise of the Holy Motors. Dumb fucking Hollywood marketing morons.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 7:35 a.m. CST

    looks French

    by Skankardly

    they should drop a bomb on it.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Wow, claxdog.

    by Knuckleduster

    You suck.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Looks interesting, visually arresting, and experimental

    by AlienFanatic

    It may be pretentious, but maybe not. The trailer is, as one would expect, disjointed, especially if the film is meant to be more experience than narrative. But hey, it might turn out to be something so well-choreographed, filmed, and acted that it becomes more of an experience than a linear story. And I typically don't watch independent or artsy films. Guess we'll see.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 8:51 a.m. CST


    by Martin Hogg

    Is this trailer on drugs? Or is it me? Or is it both of us? Either way, i like, and i might just try and see this. Its an action film, right?

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST


    by Crobran

    Well done, good sir.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Just point me to someplace that describes the plot/acts

    by ScorpioRising

    Nothing I've read tells me anything. I don't want an ethereal description of it - give me a breakdown of what happens in the movie. With most movies, I'll know whether I am interested in seeing them. With this one, I have absolutely no idea. I really like Kylie Minogue, so I'd almost see it just for her, but I can't stand Eva Mendes, so that's a wash. Need... more... info...

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Looks cool as hell!

    by magazoid

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 11:36 a.m. CST

    All French movies are pretentious

    by IAmLegolas

    not that that's a bad thing. A good movie is a good movie.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    While I respect aicn for attempting to trumpet this movie

    by mr.underwater

    As you can tell from the majority of the talkbacks, it isn't exactly in aicn's wheelhouse. Sadly, over the past few years this site has morphed from a film geek site, to a comic book/action/sci-fi/fantasy film geek site. Anything else need not apply.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:43 p.m. CST

    my favorite movie...

    by no-no the Cannes Film Festival and of 2012 so far (2 more months but I expect it to stay #1)

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:46 p.m. CST

    RAID does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Nordling, I saw THE RAID last night, largely because of your recommendation (I think you described it as the best action film since DIE HARD or something similar?). I thought the first half was excellent, while the fighting was with guns and very tense. However the second half of the film when the good guys switched to hand to hand (and for some reason the bad guys switched to machetes) became progressively sillier. By the final confrontation it just became ludicrous and lost all semblance of reality. The guy that had a hunting knife through his hand and was then hung on a chain and used as a human punch bag for god knows how long... he is let off the chain and instantly into a ten minute fist fight where all 3 of the protagonists behave like invulnerable cartoon characters. My buddies and I were actually laughing at how stoopid the movie became towards the end. So generally speaking I thought it was kinda average!

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 12:47 p.m. CST

    An intriguing trailer... finally!

    by ufoclub1977

    I hate when you see a trailer and it projects the plot and genre of a movie exactly. I almost always then lose the momentum to actually see the movie first run. I much prefer teaser style trailers, and much prefer movies that try something new.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 2:33 p.m. CST

    cobra--kai clearly isn't a fan of Asian action cinema.

    by Knuckleduster

    Or good movies in general.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Monsieur Merde returns!

    by 667

    Honestly never thought I'd see the day. Was definitely my least favourite segment of Tokyo! but will give this a chance.!


  • The only thing the trailer gives away about this movie is that it seems like an obnoxious ,pretentious attempt at forcing viewers into thinking they must go and see it. Looks to me like a rip-off, and future oblivion material. By the way, the Cloud Atlas trailer gives the exact opposite feeling and will probably be very good.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 5:14 p.m. CST

    The best way to describe the plot of this movie

    by konkrete590

    It is 9 powerful scenes from 9 completely different movies all tied together by a limo and the driver and passenger. And this trailer is perfect for the movie!

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 5:39 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Just found Nordlings THE RAID review: *THE RAID: REDEMPTION is one of the finest action movies I've ever seen. Call it hyperbole, call it over-exaggeration, I don't give a shit. I've seen it, and I stand by it. DIE HARD. HARD BOILED. THE RAID: REDEMPTION. Do. Not. Miss. This.* Yep. I saw it last night - and this movie is good. Yes. But far too silly, meaningless and cartoonish to be close to the likes of DIE HARD. Not even remotely close. The hero guy up there with John McLane?! The villain, with Hans Gruber?!!! Fucking come on, get serious. This is a disposable action flick - coming from someone who does enjoy asian cinema - in my opinion it is one rung below ONG BAK, because at least that movie stayed consistent throughout its running time and didnt turn superhero at the halfway stage.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    It seems Nordling suffers from the affectation that many reviewers do.. give him a subtitle and he'll give you a glowing review. It's the only answer - how else could a professional, objective reviewer genuinely claim that THE RAID and DIE HARD are at the same level of brilliance?

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 7:13 p.m. CST

    When Vogue reviews your movie, you know it's gotta be pretentious.

    by Royston Lodge

    So say we all.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 7:49 p.m. CST


    by mcgillj

    Sorry but if a title doesn't tell us SOMETHING about a film.. well a title is part of how a film sells itself. So many Holy Motors does have some meaning within context, but you have to have something interesting to make you want to look into the film. Would YOU look into a film called "KID TOUCHER: THE MOVIE"? probably not... in fact most people would actively avoid finding out anything about that film, devoid of any actual context of the film. So.. sorry, but saying "oh you can't judge it based on its title.. or its trailer.." you are saying go in BLIND.. knowing NOTHING about a film. Sorry, but as much as I LOVE Shawshank, or Scarface, or Empire of even more exploitation fare like B-grade slashers.. I do have to be in the mood and receptive to them when I sit down to watch them. otherwise it will be a bad experience. I don't know, maybe I am just in the minority in that respect. ??

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 10:29 p.m. CST


    by Johnny Wrong

    ...the most incorrectly-used word on this site. LEARN WHAT IT ACTUALLY MEANS, RETARDS. And Leos Carax is legit. If you can't see it, you're just not cine-savvy.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 10:32 p.m. CST


    by Johnny Wrong

    ...loved it. But the book goes deeper.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 11:15 p.m. CST

    Joss Whedon, please consider making a live-action Berserk film!

    by JudasPriestly

  • Repulsive example of foreign film garbage-vomit portrayed as art by American critics. The moment the guy with the camera said HE'S SO WEIRD! I was ready to shut it off. Garbage. Avoid at ALL costs.

  • INSTANTLY makes me refuse to see it. Vogue likes it. Ugh.

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 2:20 a.m. CST

    The music at the end of the trailer...

    by TheMalteseForeskin

    does anyone know the artist/song name?

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Great trailer but

    by gridlockd

    it would be so much better without the critics blurbs cluttering up the screen. I hate that. Don't tell me how good it is, show me. Let it speak for itself and let me have my own opinion. Does look awesome though. Awesome song there too.

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 12:01 p.m. CST


    by Franck

    pre·ten·tious   [pri-ten-shuhs] From French "prétentieux", from Latin "pretenses" of "praetendō". pretentious (comparative more pretentious, superlative most pretentious) Marked by an unwarranted claim to importance or distinction. "Their song titles are pretentious in the context of "their basic lyrics. Ostentatious; intended to impress others. Her dress was obviously more pretentious than comfortable. 1.full of pretense or pretension. 2.characterized by assumption of dignity or importance. 3.making an exaggerated outward show; ostentatious. And by the way, I am French. We created that adjective. (And I unfortunately have to admit that most French people do fit its definition to the T.)

  • You could offer me any sum of money. You could offer me wine, women and song. I hold my spirit in too high a regard to see this. Seriously, this movie represents literally EVERYTHING wrong with modern cinema. An over-reliance on gimmick. Make-up instead of acting. Weird-for-the-sake-of-weird. Pretentious editing (he's here - he's gone!) Inanimate objects given vague consciousness technique over substance (ANIMATION, LOOK!) I mean, literally, this makes me feel like this is a parody for SNL's Digital Shorts. I cannot express strongly enough how much utter contempt I feel for this film, nor how much utter contempt I feel for anyone who says to see it. I am not lying when I say I would drop friends from my life who recommended this. It would indicate such a colossal lack of judgment on their part, such a lapse in their understanding of who I am as a person, that I would literally condemn them out of my life for supporting that movie with the guy wearing the pin-cushion mask. I'm sorry, but the pin-cushion mask isn't ACCEPTABLE in a LEGITIMATE FILM. Nor is the -He's so WEEEEEIRD- performance of the photographer at the beginning, nor the pointless make-up effects to turn that one character into an old man, nor the talking cars, nor ANYTHING onscreen that isn't just what it is. I mean, this is the kind of film I want to see the prints burnt without anyone even seeing it, because it's just that PLAINLY horrible. I haven't felt this much hostility toward a film since I saw the trailer for MOULIN ROUGE.

  • I'll start. If someone you know likes - even LIKES - any of these films, it's safe to never talk to that person again and to shun them in every social situation. DONNIE DARKO SOUTHLAND TALES PI PRIME HOLY MOTORS MEMENTO MOULIN ROUGE STRICTLY BALLROOM STARDUST WILLOW Seriously - if you like - even like - any of these movies, I don't want to know you.

  • Stripped down, it's about one man, many identities, and how those identities fit into the larger scheme is best discovered in the course of the movie

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 3:31 p.m. CST

    And now that I've seen the trailer...

    by Immortal_Fish

    ...I still have no clue what in the fuckity fuck I just saw. Russel Brand's version of Arthur, the later years?

  • Movies have enough trouble convincing me ONE identity for the actor is at all real in the context of the movie. I'm not going to even bother with some film trying to convince me about multiple identities. I don't watch BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE for a reason.

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 3:38 p.m. CST

    So it's a French BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE.

    by Nintendarth


  • Oct. 21, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST

    If you have a chance..

    by lsrdsc

    See this. It played at a local festival, and sold out both times.

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 6:05 p.m. CST

    One-man-many-identities isn't necessarily bad.

    by Royston Lodge

    Just look at the career of Peter Sellers. Of course, this doesn't like anywhere near as good as a Peter Sellers flick. When I crave a French film, I'll stick with Mr. Hulot's Holiday.

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 8:28 p.m. CST

    Mr. Hulout's Holiday - classic cinema, perfect film.

    by Nintendarth

    It is literally, IMO, flawless. Tati is a genius. This isn't gum on Tati's shoe. Just -every- single earmark of garbage. Like CLOUD ATLAS, I hope this disappears quickly. MAN, CLOUD ATLAS is going to the final nail in the Washawski's career.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 4:40 a.m. CST

    I have become very risk-averse with films... its the ticket price

    by Knuckleface

    I used to see a film or two per week. I'd go see a lot of indie films. I stopped. The problem is that ticket prices have doubled or tripled over the last decade (at least they have where I live) and I'm not prepared to drop 16 quid on a low-budget indie film that might be awful. I've long argued that indie and modest budget films should be priced lower than the big glossy spectacles... I also think that ticket prices should fluctuate based on empty seats. Like an airplane or a train, every empty seat in a cinema is lost revenue.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Perfect example of a shitty "great film": TREE OF LIFE

    by Michael Morning

    Sounds like this is similar.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 7:37 a.m. CST


    by Mel Garga

    Thoughts on this film aside, I completely agree with you regarding ticket prices. I recently dropped $40 for the kids and I to see Frankenweenie in 3D. It occurred to me that I could simply wait a few months and see it at home for $5 minus some of the visual flare.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Digging the song at the end.

    by Danny

    Shazam didn't recognize it. Is that an original song from the soundtrack? Really looking forward to this film.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Holy Motors…

    by Jarro

    …You've been down too long in the midnight sea Oh what's becoming of me Ride the tiger You can see his stripes but you know he's clean Oh don't you see what I mean Gotta get away Holy Diver Shiny diamonds Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue Something is coming for you Race for the morning You can hide in the sun 'till you see the light Oh we will pray it's all right Gotta get away-get away Between the velvet lies There's a truth that's hard as steel The vision never dies Life's a never ending wheel Holy Diver You're the star of the masquerade No need to look so afraid Jump on the tiger You can feel his heart but you know he's mean Some light can never be seen Repeat verse 1