Anthology Film Archives


June 19 – June 25

2012 saw the near-simultaneous release of David Cronenberg’s COSMOPOLIS and Leos Carax’s HOLY MOTORS, two of the most audacious and astonishing commercial films in recent memory, but also films that are uncannily similar in their conception – each takes place largely within the confines of a stretch limo, which slowly makes its way through a strange and strikingly unreal urban landscape. While one can only conjecture as to why these two works might’ve come into existence at the same time, they’re not the first films to make the seemingly perverse decision to limit their worlds mostly (if not entirely) to the interior of a car. Among narrative filmmakers, Abbas Kiarostami has made a habit of setting his films in cars, while Cronenberg previously adapted J.G. Ballard’s cult novel CRASH into a film that elevates the interior of an automobile into a disturbingly and erotically charged space. And avant-garde filmmakers too have betrayed a fascination with the car not so much as a means of transportation but as a kind of miniature world, using the interior of an automobile to mirror our own consciousness, to act as a fruitful formal limitation, or to play with off-screen space. Highlighting some of the extraordinary films that have explored the dramatic and philosophical potential of cars not as cultural objects or means of generating action (no car chases here!), but as enclosed, charged spaces, simultaneously in motion and static, this series demonstrates how diverse the results have been.

Special thanks to Morgan Fisher, Alfred Leslie, Saul Levine, Brian Belovarac (Janus Films), Cassie Blake (Academy Film Archive), Rebecca Cleman (Electronic Arts Intermix), Benjamin Crossley-Marra (Zeitgeist Films), Jamie Muir (Swank), and Marilee Womack (WB).

< Back to Series