Xavier Dolan

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Xavier Dolan
Xavier Dolan Cannes 2016.jpg
Born (1989-03-20) 20 March 1989 (age 28)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Film director, actor, voice actor, screenwriter, film producer, film editor
Years active 1994–present
Notable work I Killed My Mother, Mommy
Parent(s) Manuel Tadros
Geneviève Dolan

Xavier Dolan (born 20 March 1989), sometimes credited as Xavier Dolan-Tadros, is a French Canadian actor, director, screenwriter, editor, costume designer, and voice actor from Quebec. He began his career as a child actor in commercials before directing several arthouse feature films. He first received international acclaim in 2009 for his debut feature I Killed My Mother (J’ai tué ma mère), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Director's Fortnight.[1]

He has won many awards for his film work, including the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for Mommy and the Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for It's Only The End of the World.

Early life[edit]

Dolan was born on 20 March 1989, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is the son of Geneviève Dolan, a Quebecois teacher, and Manuel Tadros, an Egyptian-born Coptic Canadian actor and singer with strong ties to the Quebecois entertainment industry.[2]

Career[edit]

Early films[edit]

Dolan attracted international attention with his first feature film, I Killed My Mother (J'ai tué ma mère), which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in at the age of 20, using funds from his extensive work as a child actor.[3] He reportedly wrote the script when he was 16 years old.[4] He said in an interview with Canadian newspaper Le Soleil that the film was partly autobiographical.[5]

The film was at first financed solely by Dolan, but when need for more money arose, he asked both Telefilm and the SODEC for subsidies. Both turned him down for different reasons.[5] SODEC, who had loved the project but refused to finance it because it was submitted to a too commercial department, encouraged Dolan to submit it again in more appropriate "indie" department, which he did. In December 2008, SODEC gave him a $400,000 subsidy. In all, the film cost around $800,000 CAD.[4] Dolan said that the system to acquire funding is "[...] an obsolete financing mechanism that holds the creative assets of Quebec hostage".[5]

The film premiered at the Director's Fortnight program of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival where it received an eight-minute standing ovation and won three awards: the Art Cinema Award, the SACD Prize for screenplay, and the Prix Regards Jeunes.[6] It also won a Lumière Award and four Jutra Awards, including Best Film, Best Screenplay, and Most Successful Film Outside Québec, beating out Denis Villeneuve's film Polytechnique (2009) in what was a deemed an "upset".[citation needed] Dolan later admitted the film was "flawed" and Peter Brunette of The Hollywood Reporter called it "a somewhat uneven film that demonstrates a great deal of talent". Brunette also called the film "funny and audacious", while Allan Hunter of Screen International said that it possessed "the sting of shrewdly observed truth".[7]

The film received the Claude Jutra Award (now known as the Canadian Screen Award for Best First Feature) at the Genies, and the Toronto Film Critics Association awarded Dolan the inaugural $5,000 Jay Scott Prize for emerging talent. I Killed My Mother was named one of Canada's Top Ten features of the year by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and chosen as Canada's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2010 Academy Awards, though it failed to receive a nomination from the academy.[7][8] Distribution rights were later sold to more than 20 countries.[9] Due to legal problems experienced by the film's U.S. distributor, Regent Entertainment, it was not released theatrically in the U.S. until 2013, and once released, it earned little at the box office.[citation needed]

The second feature film Dolan directed, Heartbeats (Les Amours imaginaires), was financed privately.[9] The film follows two friends who are infatuated with the same mysterious young man and their friendship suffers. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard category at the 63e Festival de Cannes in May 2010 where it received a standing ovation.[10] It won the top prize of the Official Competition at the Sydney Film Festival in June and screened at several film festivals throughout 2011, but failed to find audiences in non-French-speaking countries. It received several Genie nominations and the AQCC (Québec association of film critics) for 'Best Film'.[7]

His third film, Laurence Anyways, was selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Suzanne Clément's performance in the film won the section's award for Best Actress.[11][12] The film received praise from critics but again failed to find an audience.[citation needed]

In May 2012, Dolan announced that his fourth film would be an adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard's play Tom at the Farm (Tom à la ferme).[13] It received its world premiere in the main competition section at the 70th Venice International Film Festival on 2 September 2013 and won the FIPRESCI award. Though Tom at the Farm played the festival circuits in 2013, it was not released in the U.S. until 2015. In an August 2015 interview, Dolan said: "No one knows me in the States, because the movies have been released in such an awkward, irregular fashion, all by different distributors.... I don't want to sound pretentious, but it's puzzling."[14]

Mommy[edit]

Main article: Mommy (2014 film)

Dolan's 2014 film, Mommy, shared the Jury Prize in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival with Jean-Luc Godard's film Goodbye to Language (Adieu au langage).[15] The jury president for the 2014 festival was Jane Campion and, upon receiving the award, Dolan stated:

The Piano [Campion's film] was the first film that I watched that truly defined who I am.... It made me want to write films for beautiful women with soul and will and strength. To even stand on the same stage as you [Campion] is extraordinary.[16]

The film was singled out by critics as Dolan's "most mature" film to date and proved to be a breakthrough in his career as a director.[17] It was his first film to achieve significant success at the box office, grossing over $3.5 million domestically in 2014, becoming the highest-selling film in Quebec for 2014.[18] According to the Montreal Gazette, over one million people saw the film in France.[18] Mommy won the Cesar Award for Best Foreign Film in 2015.[19]

It's Only the End of the World[edit]

Dolan also adapted the play Juste la fin du Monde by Jean-Luc Lagarce for the screen, titled It's Only the End of the World. The film stars Marion Cotillard, Gaspard Ulliel, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux and Nathalie Baye. Filming commenced in late May 2015.[20] The film was an official selection for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, in competition for the Palme d'Or, though it did not win.[21]

The film premiered to polarized reactions from festival audiences and critics, with Vanity Fair calling it "the most disappointing film at Cannes."[22][23][24] The Hollywood Reporter called it "a cold and deeply unsatisfying" film[25] and Variety dubbed it "a frequently excruciating dramatic experience".[26] During the festival, Dolan spoke out against the negative criticism in the media.[27][28] Despite this, the film also received positive reviews from critics, including The Guardian, which called it a "brilliant, stylised and hallucinatory evocation of family dysfunction".[29]

The film won the Grand Prix and the Ecumenical Jury Prize.[30][31] It was also featured in competition at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2016,[32] and later screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.[33] It was released in Quebec and France on 21 September 2016.[34] In France, It's Only the End of the World was released to 391 screens, where it debuted at number one at the box office and sold 1,034,477 tickets.[35]

It was chosen as Canada's submission for the 2017 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[36] In December 2016, it made the shortlist of nine films under consideration for nomination as Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards,[37] but it was not nominated in January 2017.[38] On 7 December 2016, the film was named to the Toronto International Film Festival's annual Canada's Top 10 list.[39]

Dolan with his César Awards at the 42nd ceremony in 2017

AlloCiné, a French cinema website, gave the film an average of 3.3/5, based on a survey of 44 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[40] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 44% approval rating based on 32 reviews, with an average score of 5.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's Only the End of the World is stocked with talent and boasts a story steeped in conflict, but the end result proves a disappointing misfire from writer-director Xavier Dolan."[41] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 48, based on 11 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[42]

For his work on It's Only the End of the World, Dolan won the César Award for Best Director and Best Editing at the 42nd ceremony on 24 February 2017.[43] For his work on the film, Dolan also won 3 Canadian Screen Awards for Best Motion Picture, Best Achievement in Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay.[44]

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan[edit]

Dolan is in pre-production for his first English-language film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.[45] Dolan is writing the screenplay with Jacob Tierney. The film follows John F. Donovan (Kit Harington), a Hollywood film actor whose life and career are turned upside-down when a gossip columnist (Jessica Chastain) exposes his private correspondence with an 11-year-old British fan. The film also stars Susan Sarandon as Donovan's mother and Kathy Bates as his manager.[46]

Other work[edit]

In 2015, Dolan was selected to serve on the jury for the main competition section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[47][48] Also that year, he directed the music video for "Hello", the lead single from the album 25 by Adele.[49] The video broke the Vevo record for most views in 24 hours, over 27.7 million views.[50] The video was also notable for featuring footage shot in IMAX.[51] Dolan received the Juno Award for Video of the Year for directing the video.[52]

Influences and style[edit]

Dolan has also said that his work is "not that influenced by other directors".[53] When asked to elaborate in an interview, Dolan said:[54]

What I'm trying to say is that I’m not that influenced by directors. I was influenced by Paul Thomas Anderson: it happened once. When I saw Magnolia I was shocked by the scene with Julianne Moore and the amazing frog rain at the end of the movie. It's bigger than nature and I love bigger than nature in movies. But you know, I don't think to myself: "OK, what am I going to do in my next film? Let's watch some Murnau and early Scorsese." I've had limited exposure to movies; I'm young and I only started watching films when I was 15, 16.

In 2009, Dolan identified Michael Haneke as one of his favourite directors for his precise camerawork and strong writing, citing Haneke's Funny Games and The Piano Teacher as favourites.[55] At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Dolan said that The Piano by Jane Campion was a major inspiration for him. He has also cited seeing the film Titanic as an early influence on his decision to enter the film industry.[56]

Personal life[edit]

Dolan is gay[57] and described I Killed My Mother as semi-autobiographical.[8][58]

Filmography[edit]

As director[edit]

As actor[edit]

As voice actor[edit]

Note: Many films that are dubbed in French are also dubbed in the French spoken in Québec or in one of the versions of French known as international French. DVDs may be labelled VQ for "version Québécois", which uses a Québécois accent and terms unique to that variety of the French language, or VFQ for "version francophone québécoise", which presents a generally neutral accent but pronounces English words in a way found in North America rather than in France.

As music video director[edit]

Recurring collaborators[edit]

Actor I Killed My Mother Heartbeats Laurence Anyways Tom at the Farm Mommy It's Only the End of the World
Anne Dorval NoN NoN NoN NoN
Suzanne Clément NoN NoN NoN
Antoine Olivier Pilon NoN NoN
Manuel Tadros NoN NoN NoN
Patricia Tulasne NoN NoN NoN
Pierre-Yves Cardinal NoN NoN
Nathalie Baye NoN NoN
Monia Chokri NoN NoN
Niels Schneider NoN NoN
Monique Spaziani NoN NoN
Perrette Souplex NoN NoN
Jacques Lavallée NoN NoN
Pierre Chagnon NoN NoN

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Xavier Dolan's long road to instant success". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Perreaux, Les; Renzetti, Elizabeth (25 May 2009). "Québécois filmmaker electrifies Cannes". The Globe and Mail. 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes 2016". Festival de Cannes 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Festival de Cannes: Acceuil remarquable pour Dolan". Radio-Canada (in French). 20 May 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Provencher, Normand (15 May 2009). "Xavier Dolan". Le Soleil (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
  6. ^ "Québécois filmmaker electrifies Cannes". The Globe and Mail. 25 May 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c "Xavier Dolan". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Lacey, Liam (4 February 2010). "Xavier Dolan's long road to instant success". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Hopewell, John (10 February 2010). "Rezo wraps up Dolan's 'Love'". Variety. 
  10. ^ "Xavier Dolan: Flattered, but fretting about Cannes return". Montreal Gazette. 24 May 2009. 
  11. ^ "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Dolan in two minds over Cannes". Times Colonist. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Schmidlin, Charlie (7 May 2012). "Xavier Dolan fourth film, is an Adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard's Play 'Tom à la Ferme'". IndieWire. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Smith, Nigel M. (11 August 2015). "Xavier Dolan: 'Film-making is not liberating'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  15. ^ Kohn, Eric (22 May 2014). "Cannes Review: Is Xavier Dolan's 'Mommy' His Best Film?". Indiewire. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  16. ^ Xan Brooks (25 May 2014). "Cannes festival ready for shut-eye after Winter Sleep wins Palme d'Or". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  17. ^ D'Alto, Vicenzo (18 September 2014). "Mommy is a more mature and fully rounded expression of everything Xavier Dolan has gleaned in the past half-decade". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  18. ^ a b Kelly, Brendan (18 November 2014). "Mommy continues its box office dominance". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  19. ^ "Xavier Dolan's Mommy wins best foreign film at France's César Awards". CBC News. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  20. ^ "Xavier Dolan's Next Film Teams Him With Marion Cotillard For 'Juste la fin du Monde'". IndieWire. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "2016 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup, Including New Films From Steven Spielberg, Jodie Foster and Many More". Indiewire. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  22. ^ "'I was screaming inside': Xavier Dolan reacts to his latest film's damning reviews at Cannes". Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  23. ^ "Brendan Kelly: English-speaking critics don't get Xavier Dolan". 24 May 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  24. ^ Lawson, Richard. "Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World Is the Most Disappointing Film at Cannes". Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  25. ^ "'It's Only the End of the World': Cannes Review". Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  26. ^ Debruge, Peter (18 May 2016). "Cannes Film Review: 'It's Only the End of the World'". Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  27. ^ Smith, Nigel M.; Barnes, Henry; Swaby, Jonross; theguardian.com (25 May 2016). "Director Xavier Dolan: 'Cannes is sinking into a culture of hatred' – video interview". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  28. ^ "Montreal filmmaker Xavier Dolan faces Cannes criticism calmly | Toronto Star". thestar.com. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  29. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (19 May 2016). "It's Only the End of the World review: Xavier Dolan's nightmarish homecoming is a dream". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  30. ^ "Dolan defies critics, wins Cannes Grand Prix". CBC News. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  31. ^ Miller, Julie. "Cannes Film Festival's Crown Prince Xavier Dolan on Directing Oscar Winners at Age 26". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  32. ^ "Here are the 2016 Sydney Film Festival competition films". SBS. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  33. ^ "It's Only the End of the World". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 3 August 2016. 
  34. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin. "Xavier Dolan's 'It's Only The End Of The World' Will Open In Quebec On September 21st". The Playlist. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  35. ^ "Juste La Fin Du Monde". JP's Box Office. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  36. ^ "Xavier Dolan's latest is Canada's foreign-language pick for the Oscars". Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  37. ^ "Oscars: Nine Films Advance in Foreign-Language Race". Variety. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  38. ^ "Oscar nominations 2017: Denis Villeneuve in the running for Arrival, Dolan out of race". Montreal Gazette. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  39. ^ "'Telling stories that show Canadians who we are:' TIFF unveils top 10 Canadian films of 2016". CBC News. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  40. ^ "Critiques presse pour le film Juste la fin du monde". AlloCiné. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  41. ^ "It's Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde) (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  42. ^ "It's Only the End of the World". Metacritic. 
  43. ^ "Xavier Dolan honoured at France's version of the Oscars for It's Only the End of the World". CBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  44. ^ Ahearn, Victoria. "Xavier Dolan, 'Orphan Black' big winners at Canadian Screen Awards". CTVNews. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  45. ^ "Xavier Dolan Writing His First American Film 'The Death & Life of John F. Donovan' & More From MoMa". Blackbook. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  46. ^ "Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates Board 'Mommy' Director's First English-Language Project". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  47. ^ "The Jury of the 68th Cannes Film Festival". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  48. ^ "Jake Gyllenhaal, Sienna Miller and Guillermo del Toro Join Cannes Film Festival Jury". The Wrap. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  49. ^ "Watch: Xavier Dolan Directed Video For Adele's "Hello"". The Playlist. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  50. ^ "Adele's 'Hello' breaks Taylor Swift's record for single-day views". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  51. ^ "Meet Xavier Dolan, the Indie Director Behind Adele's "Hello" Music Video". Vogue. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  52. ^ "Xavier Dolan – Hello – Adele". Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  53. ^ Myers, Emma (24 June 2013). "Interview: Xavier Dolan". Film Comment. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  54. ^ "Interview: Xavier Dolan – Film Comment". Film Comment. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  55. ^ Provencher, Normand (15 May 2009). "Xavier Dolan: "J'ai toujours vu Cannes dans ma soupe"" [Xavier Dolan: I've always seen Cannes in my future"]. La Presse (in French). Retrieved 1 April 2015. Michael Haneke... est un réalisateur extrêmement précis... que ce soit la réalisation, le jeu de caméra, la direction d'acteurs. Il possède aussi un calcul incroyable de l'écriture... J'ai beaucoup aimé Funny Games… ainsi que La pianiste. (Translation: Michael Haneke is an extremely precise director when it comes to directing, camerawork and working with actors. He is also an incredibly strong writer... I very much liked Funny Games… and the The Piano Teacher.) 
  56. ^ Blasberg, Derek (20 November 2015). "How Titanic Changed Director Xavier Dolan's Life". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  57. ^ Kirchner, Lisa (23 February 2011). "Xavier Dolan: The New Woody Allen, Only Younger, Cuter and Gay". Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  58. ^ Provencher, Normand (15 May 2009). "Xavier Dolan: "J'ai toujours vu Cannes dans ma soupe"" [Xavier Dolan: I've always seen Cannes in my future"]. La Presse (in French). Retrieved 1 April 2015. C'est en partie autobiographique... ceci étant dit, il m'a fallu ajouter des éléments de romance et de fiction (Translation: the film is partly autobiographical... having said that, I had to add romantic and fictional elements) 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]