Visuals, Songs & Film References From Leos Carax’s “Holy Motors”

Compiled by Marko Orlic



Kylie Minogue – “Who Were We?” (Written By Leos Carax, Neil Hannon & Andrew Skeet)

Doctor L, Elliot Simon & Quentin Auvray – “Let My Baby Ride” (R.L. Burnside Cover)

Manset – “Revivre”

Dmitri Shostakovich – “Funeral March (Adagio Molto)” from String Quartet No. 15 in E flat minor (Op. 144)

Kongos – “Come With Me Now”

Film References

Holy Motors is similar to Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2, and David Lynch’s Inland Empire, as far as themes, narrative, and surrealism are concerned.


Edith Scob (limousine driver, Celine) wears a similar mask to the one she wore in Georges Franju’s Eyes Without A Face.

Kylie Minogue’s hairstyle, walk, and name (Jean) are based on Jean Seberg in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless.

Charlotte Rampling is married to a chimpanzee in Nagisa Oshima’s Max Mon Amour, much like M. Oscar in his final role.

In the film’s introduction, director Leos Carax’s house appears to be modeled after M. Hulot’s brother’s home in Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle.

Kylie Minogue’s Jean dives backwards off the top of La Samaritaine in a similar manner to the magician in Bjork’s husband Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 5.

Akin to Holy Motors, Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 7 features heavy use of makeup and prosthetics, while taking place inside a white limousine.

Leos Carax references four of his earlier film in Holy Motors.

1) The beggar and La Samaritaine scenes pay homage to The Lovers On The Bridge.

2) The motion capture “appointment” takes a visual cue — the red and white line graphic — from Mauvais Sang.

3) The creepy, leprechaun-looking M. Merde first appeared in Tokyo!, an anthology film by Michel Gondry, Bong Joon-ho, and, of course, Leos Carax.  Merde’s theme song in Holy Motors is the original theme from Godzilla, which was later sampled by Pharoahe Monch for “Simon Says.”

4) Holy Motors is dedicated to the late Yekaterina “Katya” Golubeva (1966-2011), who starred in Pola X.


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  2. luca

    i would like to know more about the rationalist-style house at the beginning of the movie and about the artnouveau-style store…luca


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