After 13 years' absence, Leos Carax returns to mesmerise, dumbfound and win the audience over with a bravura piece of cinema.
In it the mysterious Mosier Oscar leaves his millionaire villa at dawn in a white limo. His driver, the silver-haired Celine, briefs him on his appointments while he prepares to enact a bizzare masquerade.
Like a child at play, he morphs from one character to the next - an old begging woman, a businessman, an assassin, a monster and a family man.
At one stage - with a black lycra outfit covered in white sensors - he is an actor specialising in motion capture, next he is a contract killer who has to carry out 10 hits daily, then he's transformed into a horrifying money-eating tramp who kidnaps a model.
Finally he steps out of his limousine to shoot a banker in the forehead.
Denis Lavant, who assumes these multiple personas, throws himself into the proceedings with such intensity that it's hard to separate the resulting film from the power of his performance.
But it's also a film that feels laced with musical, visual and verbal references to Kurosawa, Godard, Lynch and Kubrick in which Carax the dreamer loads his images with ingenuity and political engagement.
Holy Motors is a unique cinematic experience and it is disappointing that its merits weren't recognised at the Cannes film festival this year.