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There's no reason to talk of Xavier Dolan as a young filmmaker any longer. Yes, he's only 25, but he's now five films into an already impressive career and Laurence Anyways is a film any director of forty years or more would be proud to call their crowning achievement. Now comes Mommy, a film that could easily be argued as his best, and there's absolutely no telling how high his star will rise, though I fully expect his to be a career that's wildly celebrated by all film aficionados 25 years from now. Telling the story of widowed mother Diane "Die" Despres (Anne Dorval) and her 15-year-old violent son, Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon), Mommy delves into the bond of a mother and her child, the love that exists within that bond and how there's virtually nothing in this world that can break it. Diane, however, is struggling. Steve is more than a handful, »
- Brad Brevet
Critics and scholars often refer to young, accomplished Québécois filmmaker Xavier Dolan as the “enfant terrible” of French-Canadian cinema. This moniker is likely not because Dolan is breaking the rules and conventions of filmmaking though, because for the most part, he is not. Instead, it could be due to how his stories focus on actual enfant terribles, fussy and privileged kids going through issues of sexuality, identity and self-worth.
Dolan is far from the Godard of modern Québécois cinema, but more akin to Truffaut, full of freewheeling energy and insight and throttled by character rather than concept. Just 25 years old, the director is already making one good or interesting film a year and in 2014, he has just given us his most accomplished feature yet, Cannes favorite Mommy, which features the most terrible enfant in any film from recent memory.
That obnoxious and self-serving but charming teenager, Steve (Antonie-Olivier Pilon), is »
- Jordan Adler
“To me, music is the soul of the film,” Xavier Dolan said in an interview with Slant Magazine in 2012, just as his third feature Laurence Anyways was about to makes it premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section. More than most directors, it seems, Dolan seems to blur the line between film and music video, bringing the two together tastefully, offering interludes that are just as important to the whole of the film as any dialogue scene. These scenes, perhaps, allow Dolan to exercise his more indulgent side, but they give his films a gorgeous full bodied appeal. Also giving him the opportunity to experiment with technique, Dolan brings an inventiveness and assuredness to both forms unlike any director.
- Kyle Turner
"Pride" is heading to U.S. theaters. The winner of the Queer Palm at this year's Cannes Film Festival has been acquired for Stateside distribution by CBS Films, it was announced today. Directed by Tony winner Matthew Warchus from a script by Stephen Beresford, the "dramatic comedy" stars Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, Joseph Gilgun, George MacKay and Ben Schnetzer in a fact-based story about the unlikely alliance between Lgbt activists and striking mineworkers in the U.K. during the mid-1980s. The film has been slated for Stateside release on September 19, 2014. The Queer Palm is an independently-sponsored award started in 2010 that recognizes Cannes-screened films for their treatment of Lgbt (or "altersexual") themes. Past winners include Gregg Araki's "Kaboom," Oliver Hermanus's "Beauty," Xavier Dolan's "Laurence Anyways" and Alain Guiraudie's "Stranger by the Lake." »
- Chris Eggertsen
When Diane Després (Anne Dorval) signs her name to have son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) released from a teenage care facility, she scrawls her nickname — “Die” — before dotting the I with a heart. That tiny touch speaks volumes about the crossroads between ominous and ostentatious that Xavier Dolan’s Mommy calls home. A borderline operatic melodrama that emphasizes the emotional states of Solondz-like misfits with Sirkian flair (and a needless near-future setting), it follows the Adhd-afflicted Steve back into Diane’s reluctant care. As a widow, she can hardly hold a job down without having to attend to his latest vulgar or violent outburst, and the schools won’t have him back. Enter Kyla (Suzanne Clément), a mousy neighbor with a bit of a stutter who can withstand Steve’s mood swings. In fact, by tolerating him, the newly empowered Kyla levels out the emotional extremes between mother and son, if only for a while. With »
- William Goss
Quentin Tarantino, during his Cannes Film Festival press conference (watch it here), mentioned an email chain he was a part of where he and some friends discussed what they believed to be the ten most exciting directors working today. Among those listed he said only David Fincher and Richard Linklater where in everyone's top ten, he wasn't sure why Pedro Almodovar wasn't on everyone's list and he also qualified what he believed it meant for a director to be the "most exciting". Here's how he put it: "I think what that means is, you feel that their best work is still in front of them. That's what makes a filmmaker exciting, that's what makes you anticipate a new movie coming out. Because the new movie could be their best one. From this day on that will be the new barometer from which they're judged. We could be wrong, and their »
- Brad Brevet
For the first time in his short but impressive career, Canadian director Xavier Dolan has won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Technically, he shared the honour with French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who also won the Jury Prize for "Goodbye to Language." Quebec native Dolan won the prize for his film "Mommy," which has been receiving rave reviews across the board since it premiered at Cannes.
There has been a ton of Dolan buzz emanating out of Cannes, where he presented his fifth directed movie in as many years. The Jury Prize is considered the third-most prestigious prize at the festival; Dolan was the youngest person in contention for the Jury Prize and the Palme d'Or, which was awarded to "Winter Sleep." Critics heaped praise on "Mommy," and it was one of the early favourites to win.
"Mommy" follows a single mother as she tries to raise a spastic, »
- Chris Jancelewicz
Mommy, which spurred spirited conversation at Cannes (and really wowed our woman on the ground, Diana) and could walk away with a prize this weekend (as literally all of director Xavier Dolan's previous features have but for Tom at the Farm, which went the Venice/Toronto route instead).
I remain perplexed that an international star with this much critical cachet and this many easily marketable elements (young, hot, queer) hasn't found a deep pocketed patron in the world of Us distribution, in the way many auteurs do. Think of how Miramax used to favor certain directors or the way Sony Pictures Classics really invested in building the Pedro Almodovar brand. I keep hoping a younger edgier disribution company (my dream: A24) will fall in love with him because with the right promotion and cultivation, he'd have a devout following Stateside. »
- NATHANIEL R
But how did the 25-year-old Montreal director come to be the toast of the world's most prestigious film festival?
Dolan, a former child actor, presented a screenplay to prominent Quebec actress Anne Dorval when he was 16 years old, The Globe and Mail reports.
She called him back with suggestions, but he soon told her to forget that screenplay altogether. He had a new idea for a movie about a difficult relationship between a homosexual teen and his mother.
Dolan would play the boy and Dorval his mother.
That film, "J'ai tué ma mere (I Killed My Mother)" would become the toast of Cannes in 2009, taking three prizes in the Directors' Fortnight section, including the Art Cinema Award and a writers' award for top French film. »
- Jesse Ferreras
May 22nd – Rainy Thursday in Cannes.
It appears that both the oldest, and the youngest filmmakers in the Main Comp happen to be those responsible for breathing an air of vitality into this year’s fest. Yesterday, Jean-Luc Godard’s latest (second 3D project) once again divided critics, and depending on who you speak to, Goodbye to Language is among the filmmaker’s best works (and we’re talking about six decades worth of films) or simply does not work.
Today, Xavier Dolan (his film received the early bird 7:00p.m. screening on Wednesday) receives it’s red carpet debut tonite (prediction: the filmmaker will not fall on the red steps) and is among the hot buzz titles in contention for some trophyware. After several generations worth of Quebecois father-son rapport relationship dynamics (Père manquant fils manqué phenomenon which in essence saw generations of labor force men from the »
- Eric Lavallee
In Canadian director Xavier Dolan's short career (so far, the guy's only 25), he has received a record number of accolades for someone so young.
There is a ton of Dolan buzz emanating out of this year's Cannes Film Festival, where his fifth directed movie in as many years, "Mommy," is getting rave reviews. Dolan's also up for the prestigious Palme d'Or, which is bestowed upon the best director/movie of the festival; he's the youngest person in contention. Critics are heaping praise on the film, and early odds are that Dolan is going to win.
"Mommy" follows a single mother as she tries to raise a spastic, difficult-to-contain teenage son. Their lives metamorphosize when they make friends with a shy neighbour, who makes unexpected changes to their very existence.
If Dolan were to win the Palme d'Or, it would be the first time in Cannes Film Festival history that »
- Chris Jancelewicz
Anyone who reads this site with any form of regularity knows I love Xavier Dolan's work. The first film of his I saw was Laurence Anyways at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, shortly after which I caught up with the rest of his work including I Killed My Mother and Heartbeats before catching Tom at the Farm at the Toronto Film Festival last year. Laurence, as it turns out, made my list of top ten films of 2013. Now, his latest film, Mommy has premiered in competition at Cannes and has received some rave reviews and today the first clip and the Cannes poster have premiered online. https://twitter.com/jes_chastain/statuses/469456261562769409 Starring Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clement and Antoine Olivier Pilon, Mommy tells the story of a widowed single mother (Dorval), raising her violent son (Pilon) alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor (Clement) inserts herself into the mother and son's household, »
- Brad Brevet
Wednesday was a day at Cannes for a wunderkind and an icon. The former was 25-year-old Xavier Dolan, precocious enough to already have made five movies and gone to Cannes with four of them. The latter was 83-year-old Jean-Luc Godard, who has made more than 50 features and brought many of them to Cannes, though his idea of “bringing” a film to Cannes does not always involve him attending the festival himself. The Dolan film, “Mommy,” is a typically provocative work by the young director who made no secret of his dissatisfaction when his 2012 film “Laurence Anyways” was selected »
- Steve Pond
Cannes - Let's hear it for Xavier Dolan: not many auteurs have built up such a body of work by the age of 25 that the first and least arguable adjective that can be applied to his latest is "characteristic." The Québécois multi-hyphenate does not appear on screen in "Mommy," a restless interior epic of unconditional love between mother and son, but his presence in it could hardly be stronger or more idiosyncratic. Dolan's passions, neuroses and eccentricities fill every frame of "Mommy" -- even the frames themselves have his name written all over them, given the director's unorthodox decision to shoot 90% of the film in a distinctive, disorienting 1:1 ratio. "I'm still big, it's the pictures that got small," protested Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard"; think of Dolan's aesthetic here as a uniquely literal interpretation of that boast. Dolan has been labelled a cinematic narcissist in the past -- »
- Guy Lodge
With his fifth film, twenty-five year old director Xavier Dolan finally played in Competition at Cannes with "Mommy," and he made the most of the opportunity. Yesterday, raves started coming in from all corners for the movie, with our own Jessica Kiang declaring the picture to be "vibrant, intoxicating, illuminating" and now you can get a taste with the first clip from the flim. Starring Anne Dorval ("I Killed My Mother," "Heartbeats," "Laurence Anyways"), Suzanne Clément ("I Killed My Mother," "Laurence Anyways") and Antoine-Olivier Pilon, the story follows a widowed, single mother, raising her unstable teenage son, who finds assistance and stability from a next door neighbor. But that's barely the half of it, as the film finds Dolan once again flexing some serious filmmaking muscles, staring with the soundtrack. Featuring Oasis, Dido, Andrea Boccelli, Eiffel 65 and more, Dolan finds a way to make radio friendly fodder take on deeper meaning, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
If Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s debut, “I Killed My Mother,” served as the petulant revenge of a misunderstood son upon the single mom who raised him, then his unexpectedly self-effacing fifth feature, “Mommy,” acknowledges that perhaps the lack of understanding went both ways. This time, the offscreen director puts himself in his mom’s shoes, casting Anne Dorval once again as a strong, independent woman overwhelmed with the task of caring for a teenage tyrant. It’s uncanny how much Dolan’s style and overall solipsism have evolved in five years’ time, resulting in a funny, heartbreaking and, above all, original work — right down to its unusual 1:1 aspect ratio — that feels derivative of no one, not even himself.
Though scarcely known in the States, where his sophomore feature “Heartbeats” earned just shy of $600,000, and “I Killed My Mother” and the gender-resistant romance “Laurence Anyways” received only minor arthouse releases, »
- Peter Debruge
Like it or not, Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan is, at age 25, almost insufferably talented. This year marks his fourth trip to the Croisette as a director, as he debuted in 2009 with the intensely personal "I Killed My Mother." But his latest, "Mommy," is his first to bow in the Main Competition. And based on critics' initial reactions, it's a doozy. "Mommy" stars Anne Dorval as the titular widowed mother who's struggling to right her wayward, sometimes-violent son (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) until a mysterious neighbor (Suzanne Clement, who was lovely in Dolan's 2012 Un Certain Regard entry "Laurence Anyways") lends a helping hand. As in "Laurence Anyways," Dolan does not appear in front of the camera this time around. His films tend to benefit without his showy, overly emotional acting style -- though in last year's psychosexual thriller "Tom at the Farm," still bobbing around the festival circuit with no sign of a Us release date, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Xavier Dolan's startling first feature, 2009's "I Killed My Mother," was an impressive debut for the 19-year-old Quebecois actor-turned-filmmaker. Three more films swiftly followed -- "Heartbeats," "Laurence Anyways," and "Tom at the Farm" -- which were less satisfying but allowed him to experiment with style. But now, at 25, Dolan has come full circle with a formidable step up. "Mommy," his fifth movie in as many years, brings the director back to themes of maternal angst and teen alienation first seen in "I Killed My Mother," but cranks up the intensity with a terrific calibration of first-rate performances and emotional engagement. As Dolan's characters endure a series of seismic up and downs, the movie maintains a vitality and movement that goes beyond craftsmanship to illustrate Dolan's evolution as an artist. Running over two hours, and padded with a few too many musical montages and the questionable use of an uber-slender 1:1 aspect ratio, »
- Eric Kohn
We remember watching a directors' roundtable one day and the question was asked of the assembled filmmakers "what is the hardest part of directing?" They all agreed that the hardest thing was to create a sense of life: inside a frame where everything included therein is a choice, the hardest thing is to make it feel part of a wider world, unmanufactured, organic, alive. They should maybe just hang around mopping up the spillover from "Mommy," the tremendous new film from Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan, because, by some distance his best film, it is also one of the most vibrant, intoxicating, illuminating films of this or any Cannes, and it's a little like we can still feel it thrumming through our veins. Centered on an incredible performance from Ann Dorval, with whom Dolan reunites after "Laurence Anyways" and a no less revelatory one from Antoine Olivier Pilon as her son, »
- Jessica Kiang
Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, from the youngest director in the lineup: Xavier Dolan's "Mommy." The director: Xavier Dolan (Canadian, 25 years old). "At last" isn't the typical response when a 25-year-old director makes it into the Cannes Competition, but a number of people -- not least Dolan himself -- would say that it's about time. Since winning top honors at Directors' Fortnight, aged just 20, with his semi-autobiographical debut feature "I Killed My Mother," the precocious Québécois child actor turned filmmaker has been on the fast track to the auteur A-list. "Mommy" is his fifth feature, and his fourth to »
- Guy Lodge
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