NEW YORK — “Holy Motors,” Leos Carax’s first feature film in 13 years, is a surreal, exuberant head trip that’s hard to describe and even harder to dissect. It bursts with demented yet mesmerizing images as it follows an enigmatic, shape-shifting protagonist in a white limousine as he assumes various identities — posing as a hunched beggar woman on a bridge, a dying elderly man, and a grunting, sewer-dwelling troll who kidnaps a fashion model from a photo shoot and spirits her to his subterranean lair. There’s a garage full of talking limousines, their taillights blinking as they speak, and an actor performing a serpentine sex scene with a contortionist using motion capture technology.
During a recent interview the day after “Holy Motors” screened at the New York Film Festival, Carax admits that he had doubts about whether the mystifying film, which opens in the Boston area on Friday, would connect with audiences. “I thought it would be too strange, too difficult for people,” he says.