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The 25 Best Movies of 2012

8. Holy Motors

Director: Leos Carax
Stars: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue

Like a breath of fresh, revitalizing air, French filmmaker Leos Carax's Holy Motors uncontrollably attacks the senses with unbridled imagination and creativity. It's as imaginative as it is transformative, following a nameless actor (Denis Lavant, in an outstanding performance) who makes a series of pit stops throughout Paris while driving around in a stretch limousine, each separate vignette allowing him to portray a different character in a new mini-movie.

From a performance-capture suit to a leprechaun-like green suit, Lavant's various get-ups inform his many assignments, and they're all vibrant, funny, unnerving, and unnaturally surreal. Carax's multilayered, endlessly fascinating film operates on two distinct wavelengths: One one hand, it's a peppy love letter to all things cinema, but, on the other, it's also a sad, gloomy chamber piece about connecting with cinema's older, simpler ways in the face of modern advancements.

No matter how viewers take it, Holy Motors is one cinematic fever dream from which you won't want to wake up.

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