Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This Week In Strange Critics Quotes: Holy Motors

With Leos Carax's loving befuddlement of a comeback, Holy Motors, set for release in UK cinemas on 18 September - it has already been released here in Australia to unfortunate minimal box office, but we could hardly expect it to become a blockbuster - it was only a matter of time before a typically gorgeous UK quad poster came our way. The design that has come down the pipeline is certainly lush, full of woozy greens and sleek whites. Take a look at it below and tell me its assortment of images doesn't at least pique your curiosity (not least because Kylie Minogue looks like she's from a spy thriller or a Doctor Who episode.)

Yes, we can accept this. However, if you look carefully at the critics quotes, you will find something truly bizarre. I'm not sure what Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian, known as a rather erudite critic, was thinking when he used the word "batsqueak" to describe this movie (or anything for that matter), but there you have it. Even stranger is that the film's British distributor thought "yes, that is the exact right quote to entice cinemagoers." :/

From his original review:

Leos Carax's Holy Motors is weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact. It is wayward, kaleidoscopic, black comic and bizarre; there is in it a batsqueak of genius, dishevelment and derangement; it is captivating and compelling. This film may or may not be a prizewinner here – although I think it may actually get the Palme d'Or – but really this is what we have all come to Cannes for: for something different, experimental, a tilting at windmills, a great big pole-vault over the barrier of normality by someone who feels that the possibilities of cinema have not been exhausted by conventional realist drama. Some may find it affected or exasperating; I found it weightless and euphoric.

I can already spot a couple of bites from that opening paragraph that would make more sense as a movie poster pull quote. Throughout the rest of his Cannes review he hails Holy Motors as "a mysterious odyssey through the streets of an eerie, beautiful Paris", "(t)here is something of David Lynch here, a little of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, of Gaspar NoƩ's Kubrickian head-trips", "it is a bravura exercise in pure imagination", and "it's funny, it's freaky ... breaks the wheel of convention." Would none of those have been more appropriate than a confusing line about whatever a "batsqueak" is.

I live with somebody who resided in England for many years and she has never once heard of that term being used to describe anything. Other than (one would assume) the sound made by an actual bat, of course. If nothing else, it's certainly not a term that had caught on in the counsel estates of Essex. What a batsqueak indeed.

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