Nine days ago I repeated the indisputable fact that Leos Carax‘s Holy Motors is one of 2012’s great films, the L’Age d’Or of our time, a landmark madhouse flick. The Rotten Tomatoes gang more or less feels the same. (Doleful Metacritic hasn’t even bothered to post reviews.) But there are hurdles (slight ones) keeping even some go-getter journalists from wanting to see it.
Holy Motors costar Kylie Minogue, press-shy director Leos Carax prior to last night’s NY Film Festival screening outside Alice Tully Hall.
Holy Motors is really “out there”, for one, and that always intimidates or gives pause to people who’ve never dropped acid or mescaline and who really like their meat loaf, mashed potatoes and green beans. And Indomina, the film’s U.S. distributor, has been following a standard lowball indie strategy (limited bookings, not much heat). As I said on 10.3, they haven’t generated much “thunder and swagger” on the film’s behalf.
On top of which Carax “has often kept the press at arm’s length,” as N.Y. Times profiler Dennis Lim wrote on 10.10. The 51 year-old chain-smoking director didn’t speak to any journalists in Cannes, according to Lim, and apparently it’s apparently been a struggle to get him to agree to fly to Los Angeles.
Even fellow columnists have been reluctant to see Holy Motors. “It’s not a priority right now because it doesn’t have much of an award-season profile,” one guy said this morning.
This is so wrong, so upside down. I’m seeing Holy Motors again tonight, but in one of the tiny little shoebox theatres at Raleigh Studios. That’s the only kind of facility Indomina wants to pay for. Last night it had a big New York Film Festival showing at Alice Tully Hall…yes! And my Cannes screening was inside the Grand Lumiere with a packed house giving it a standing, cheering ovation. But when Indomina takes over Holy Motors becomes take-out food instead of a great meal. A nickle-and-dime thing, a DVD in a basket, a VOD.
Carax has made one of the most radical and wildly visionary films of the 21st Century, and it needs to be shown big and vivid and gleaming. Eyeballs need to be popped with a string of gala celebrations involving hundreds if not thousands and with a fusillade of flashbulbs and a champagne after-party and all the attendant hoopla. And yet there’s nothing. Not any more. I suppose it’s better to get some kind of theatrical release, even one from Indomina, than no release at all. But what a bummer.
Please see Holy Motors. Please. Really.