Canadian Filmmaker XAVIER DOLAN Wins In Cannes For MOMMY

Director Xavier Dolan (Jury Price) seen at the Cannes Awards Photocall during Cannes Film Festival 2014
At age 25, Xavier Dolan, the Québécois L’Enfant terrible is already a seasoned filmmaker. – photo: John Rasimus, Pacific Coast news

Fresh off his Jury Prize-winning trip to Cannes, writer, director, and Canadian wunderkind, Xavier Dolan, seems poised to conquer the film world with his bold latest effort, Mommy. The story of an overwhelmed single mother (beautifully played by Dolan stalwart, Anne Dorval) and her severely troubled young son (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) the movie deals with many of the director’s favorite themes (mothers and sons, domestic frustration, disillusionment, individuality) yet finds the precocious auteur exploring brave new ground stylistically.

Director Xavier Dolan (Jury Price) seen at the Photocall during Cannes Film Festival 2014 – photo: Pacific Coast News

Using a perfectly square 1:1 aspect ratio that frames each character in his film very much like a still portrait, Dolan heightens the immediacy, emotional depth, and odd timelessness of the movie rather than drowning it in overdone or affected gravitas. Even more surprising however, the technique – combined with his famously unflinching candor as a storyteller – managed to electrify the glamorous if slightly jaded Cannes crowd.

Of course, Dolan, an openly gay director whose first film, 2009’s I Killed My Mother was an autobiographical account of his difficult and not too far removed teenage years, is used to getting a strong reaction from people… jealousy being the most common one when it comes to his peers. That’s because at only 25-years–old, the Québécois L’Enfant terrible is already a seasoned filmmaker with the maturity and self-assuredness to willingly test his artistic boundaries. This is after all, Dolan’s 4th trip to Cannes (in addition to Mommy and I Killed My Mother, he’s also arrived on the French Riviera touting 2010’s Heartbeats  and 2012’s Laurence Anyways).

And if that weren’t enough to brand the kid as an overachiever of the first order, Dolan’s been a working actor in his native Quebec for two decades (starring in several of his own films including 2013’s Tom at the Farm). This might be why he’s  able to elicit such fearless and vulnerable performances from his stars, especially Ms. Dorval, a brilliant Canadian actress who’s appeared in 4 of his 5 feature films. One thing is certain though, according to Xavier Dolan himself,  Mommy is not an autobiographical film; making it very different from his ’09 breakthrough. Much like his need to stretch his skills as a filmmaker, Dolan seems determined to also grow as a writer, examining lives both similar to and very different from the remarkable one that he has carved out for himself.

TRIVIA: Xavier Dolan is the voice of Jacob (played by Taylor Lautner) in the French language dubs of “Twilight” movies.

CLICK HERE for Los Angeles Times’ article on Xavier Dolan.

CLICK HERE for a crash course on Xavier Dolan via George Stroumboulopoulos.

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