Xavier Dolan “l’enfant terrible” from Québec managed to be the talk of the town at the tender age of 21 with his directorial debut “J’ai Tué Ma Mère” (I killed my mother). The film took home three awards at the Director’s Fortnight section at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009, and it even got something more precious and rare: an 8 minute standing ovation. As the title might suggest, the film explores in an almost Freudian manner the at times tumultuous bond between mother and son. The director/writer wrote the screenplay at the age of 16 and directed the film at the age of 19, saying it is partly autiobiographical. Critics all over the world bowed before Dolan’s rough talent and waited his next step impatiently.
And then came “Les Amours Imaginaires” (Heartbeats) in 2010; his second attempt was also received with high praise, opening the Un Certain Regard section that year at the Cannes Film Festival. This time Dolan explores a love triangle of sorts where two friends fall in love with the same man while the three of them form a close friendship. The film could be a throwback to celebrated French New Wave film “Jules and Jim” by François Truffaut. The film brought back in style Dalida’s version of “Bang Bang” which is featured in the soundtrack.
Dolan has now become a Cannes and festival favourite since his third film “Lawrence Anyways” was selected to compete at the Un Certain Regard section in 2012, where it won Best Actress for Suzanne Clement and the Queer Palm Award of the festival. The film depicts a love story between a woman named Fred and a transgender woman named Lawrence. Some critics have compared his directing style with Stanley Kubrick’s.
His fourth film that is currently in cinemas, “Tom at the Farm”, is based on the homonymous play by Michael Marc Bouchard. It differs in genre from Dolan’s previous work since it is a psychological thriller. It was screened in the main competition section at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Fipresci Award. Dolan with his fourth film remains the critics darling since his film was again very well received. His latest film, “Mommy” will be seen for the first time at this year’s Cannes Film Festival since it was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or.
An interesting aspect of Dolan’s career is his acting jobs. Although he has acted since his childhood, the French-speaking audience knows his famous voice acting. He voices Ron Weasley from Harry Potter, Jacob from Twilight and Peeta from the Hunger Games for the French Quebec version of the films.
As evidenced by Xavier Dolan’s career, it is never too early to start your creative work in filmmaking and you never know if some of your off-beat, twisted “diary entries” stories may one day end up on the big screen, after which you could be the new toast of international cinema. So don’t be shy and tell your personal stories, however weird or unfitting you might consider them, and then don’t forget to submit them for the next ÉCU Film Festival! I promise we will only judge your talent and not your dark, weird, twisted soul!