“In Holy Motors you never know where Leos Carax will take you and you never know what, exactly, you’re to do once you’re there,” writes N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis. “Sometimes you may be amazed or delighted; other times, you may feel restless or uninterested. No matter: there’s always another new vision coming up.

“It’s a gift for moviegoers to have this much freedom, and exhilarating. You want three acts? How dull. A pretty protagonist? Oh, please. The triumph of the human spirit? Go away. Mr. Carax has nothing for you. What he has are weird tales; beautifully whirling, gyrating bodies; an anguished song, a sense of drift and the steady (heart) beat of lament.

“If that sounds confusing, it isn’t. Although the movie doesn’t have an obvious narrative through line, its episodes are nonetheless deeply connected by mood, visual style and Mr. Lavant. They are connected, in other words, by Mr. Carax’s singular, fluid artistic vision. And while at times it feels as if Holy Motors had been cobbled together from a million movies, it mostly, wonderfully, feels unlike anything else: it’s cinema reloaded.”