I don’t get this movie. I’d tried watching it once before. My secret santa in a Reddit Gift Exchange sent it to me some time back, telling me how much they loved it. I’d passed on it in theaters because it just didn’t look like something I’d get, and I was right. I gave it a shot and was totally lost. And I forgot about it.
Then I saw Tokyo! the other day. The director of Holy Motors, Leos Carax, directed one of the segments. Instantly I saw a connection. The Tokyo! story centers around Mr Merde, a sewer dwelling creature of chaos. I’d seen him before. He was a character in Holy Motors, pretty much the one thing I remembered from the film. Somewhat relunctantly, I grabbed the movie and put it in the watch pile. I didn’t really wanna see it, but I figured if there was ever a chance for me to revisit and have a shred of enthusiasm and a prayer of understanding it, now was the time.
So what is it even about? Superficially at least, we’ll talk deeper meaning later. A man gets into his limo with his driver who will be taking him to his nine appointments that day. The back of his ride acts as a makeshift dressing room, where he transforms himself into completely different personas for each visit (yes, one of those personas is Mr Merde). He transforms into a beggar woman who busks on the streets, or a stern father collecting his daughter from a party, or an actor filming motion capture work for a video game.
I made an effort. I followed what was happening, and double checked myself with a summary online to ensure I hadn’t missed anything. Pretty soon, we’re nearing the end of the film. I’ve got all the plot, but I still don’t get it. But I at least get that there’s something to get.
The imagery in this film is all too specific to be completely random. There are reasons everything is happening. I just don’t get those reasons. On a scale of Donnie Darko to Mulholland Dr, we’re talking full blown David Lynch, except it doesn’t consume my brain as much. I worked hard to understand Mulholland, but I feel less inclined to do so here. I think I’m content to leave it where it’s at. I’ve got enough of an idea of what happens, even if I don’t know why it all happens. And that’s okay. I can’t solve every Rubik’s cube.
Confession, I don’t actually know how to solve a Rubik’s cube.