Holy Motors

Holy Motors

Holy Motors is a really strange but equally interesting movie. Watching it is, indeed, an enjoyable experience.  It’s been a while since I saw another well-produced, professionally directed, weird movie. Although the situations, behaviours and interactions in this film are quite unusual and very different than what we are used to, the screenplay is so well-written and the whole movie was so nicely-directed that it never seems repulsively “too fictional”.

The movie shows a day work of a busy actor, named Mr. Oscar. In a typical day, as the day that we are observing, he performs several roles (“appointments”) in different movies around Paris. These movies are not filmed conventionally. First of all, there is usually not crew. As is said in one of dialogues, these movies are filmed by surveillance cameras. Therefore, they very much look like the real life.

Acting for Surveillance Cameras

This special setting, filming by surveillance cameras, mixes up the real life and the fictional life and makes the whole project a good tool for critical view on everyday life.

The current societies in many parts of the world are filled with surveillance cameras almost everywhere. Mr Oscar says that there was a time that cameras were bigger than us. There was a time that you could see and feel the camera. Now you cannot even see surveillance cameras. On the first level it shows that he does not feel that he is acting because he cannot see the camera. But at another level, it implies that all of us are actors now because we are almost always being filmed. Think about it: you go to your office, a parking lot, a store, and always you can find a note somewhere near you saying “this place is under surveillance”. They are even installed in a way that they can see your every single move.

Although the use of surveillance cameras was due to security concerns, their actual performance can be quite different. One can really feel safer and more secured if s/he is actually conscious about the fact that s/he is being constantly watched. It is quite like the religious belief of being watched by God (or gods) at all the time. Being constantly conscious about this creates anxiety or in philosophical terms: Angst.


More Information about Holy Motors:

Holy Motors Cannes Film FestivalWritten and Directed by:  Leos Carax



Cannes Film Festival (2012):

Award of the Youth: Leos Carax

Austin Film Critics Association (2012):

Best Foreign Language Film: Leos Carax

Chicago International Film Award (2012):

Gold Hugo – Best International Feature: Leos Carax

Silver Hugo – Best Actor: Denis Lavant

Silver Hugo – Best Cinematography

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards (2012):

Best Foreign Language Film: Leos Carax

Online Film Critics Society Awards (2012):

Best Film Not in the English Language

3 thoughts on “Holy Motors

  1. Yes, I quite enjoyed your Squidoo article about Philosophical Angst. This era of being watched has (I hope) made us feel somewhat safer. But does it? (Not as much as we’d like to think, imo). It reminds me of the saying “we never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.”

    What about trust? I remember being trusted to borrow the car for a trip out of town. That sense of responsibility is a sign we are mature – isn’t it?

    And yet, when I read the findings of Dr. Nicole Ruedy about ethics, 41% of cheaters showed statistically significant boosts in positive feelings compared to non-cheaters, something coined as “the cheater’s high.” Apparently, they didn’t feel guilt or shame if they felt no one else is being harmed, the researchers concluded.

    Dr. Ruedy concluded we should make the case that people are ultimately responsible for monitoring their own behaviour. The thing is . . we just can’t “trust” everyone.

    A survey of 5,428 companies in 40 countries revealed that 43% reported significant fraud, with the average company loss over a two-year period being (in U.S. dollars) $2,420,700 (PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2008). And so, it appears we cannot trust many employees, either.


    1. Very interesting (although sad) data.

      I have read some articles about the same issues in Foreign Affairs. One is http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139028/pamela-passman/how-to-protect-intellectual-property. In another one (I don’t remember the title), it was mentioned that most of managers of international companies had been encountered with the fact that bribery would help their business at some level.

      In my opinion, the current notion of success (from school to business world) is causing these problems. If we can agree that economics is the infrastructure, then it can be concluded that most of these issues are rooted in economical relations.


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