Vulture.com calls him l’enfant terrible, and i tend to agree, partly because i love my enfant terribles (including Alexander McQueen), mostly because the title fits the man. Webster dictionary defined the terminolgy as ‘usually young and successful person who is strikingly unorthodox, innovative, or avant-garde’, and the young director really is on the path of establishing himself and his auteurist vision in his films. Allow me to introduce, one of my favorite filmmaker, Xavier Dolan.
Xavier Dolan (also known as Xavier Dolan-Tadros) is a Québecois filmmaker and actor, born March 20, 1989, hailing from Montreal, Canada. His parents are Geneviève Dolan, a teacher, and Manuel Tadros, an actor of egyptian descent. He started his career as a child actor and also became a voice actor later on. Even after getting his hands on directing, Dolan still follows his passion in acting until now, including starring in two of his own films (J’ai tué ma mère and Les Amours Imaginaires).
In his childhood he was a fan of Titanic (1997), naming it as his first movie crush, he even sent fan-mail to Leonardo DiCaprion and Kate Winselt. He attended boarding school for 5 years, during which his access to pop culture was limited through Warner Bros. Channel, watching Charmed and Smallvile.
Dolan started acting in the early 90s. He appeared in television commercials and films from the age of 4. Growing up as a young actor he had access to things kids his age are not supposed to be exposed to, making him more mature than his age. I’ve only seen two of Dolan earlier films Dolan starred in, which was a short film by Etienne Desrosiers called Miroirs d’été and a canadian, dramedy-thriller called Good Neighbors (it was screened at Blitzmegaplex that one time).
Dolan have extensive resume as voice actor, doing the french-dub for the voices such as Ronald Weasley of the Harry Potter franchise, Jacob Black of Twilight franchise, Stan Marsh of South Park, Peeta Melark of The Hunger Games, andPi Patel of Life of Pi.
At the age of 16, Dolan wrote the script for J‘ai Tué Ma Mère. This was the script of his first film that he would explore later on and finally adapted into a film when he was 19. At the time, Dolan was frustrated because he could not get an acting job and missed acting. So he had a plan to make a film by himself and cast himself as an actor too.
The film he writes about usually come from his own experience, just like his first film, his second feature Les Amours Imaginaires was also derived from his own personal experience. It allows Dolan to explore the things that are familiar to him.
Writing his third film, Laurence Anyways, was a different experience because it is his first work that is completely fictional. He admit he had to imagine a lot of thing that was not close to his life at all. But the result is still a compelling and emotionally charged film that can be expected from him.
At 20, Dolan gained International recognition from his first film that was screened in Cannes and won prestigious award from the Director’s Forthnight. His second film competed in Un Certain Regard of Cannes film festival and won the youth prize in the following year.
In 2012, his third film Laurence Anyways won the Queer Palm award at Cannes. Dolan admits that being a director is a creative experience and a passion that he belatedly found. He enjoys having control of the production and being completely immersed in its extensive creative work.
LOVING FILMS AND INFLUENCES
A lot of people compare his style to Gus van Sant, Wong Kar Wai, and Pedro Almodóvar. Though he never mentioned the last two as his influence, he said that Van Sant, Louis Malle, and François Truffaut are the filmmakera that influenced him. He also love Paul Thomas Anderson films, saying it’s raw and honest emotion made him feel passionate and alive. Btw if you’re a criterion fan, here’s a list of Dolan’s 10 favorite titles recommendation.
ABOUT BEING QUEER AND QUEER FILMS
Dolan is openly gay, nevertheless he never intended to make a film about gay characters. Even though his third film Laurence Anyways gained special recognition and won Queer Palm award at 2012 Cannes Film Festival, an award that recognize portrayal of LGBT community in film. He thought that by putting label and emphasis like that, certain work are continued to be seen as a part of certain community art, making them seems limited and inaccessible. Dolan prefers to create something that can transcend the boundaries and universally accessible.
Dolan will resume his directorial career in his 4th and 5th feature films. Tom à la Ferme, an adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard play of the same name, is a psychological thriller surrounding an event when an grieving man meets his lover family, who were not aware of the son’s sexual orientation. It will be competing at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in the coming August.
“Cinema is revenge. Revenge on missed opportunities to be right, or to apologize for being wrong; revenge on failures; revenge on inequity, and all there is to be vindictive about life itself”.
I fall for Dolan works, both on its compelling, emotional substance and its flair of style. His work only matured and developed towards better direction. For now, i’ll wait for the two up coming films. While waiting for his works to be released in Bluray or until i can get my hands on the Australia’s version DVD (sadly they refuse to accept payments from Indonesia)
Dolan own a little pet cat named Jack Dawson, yes named after the character that Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed in Titanic. He watched Friday Night Lights with Suzanne Clements and fall in love with the series (nudge, nudge to N). His third film Laurence Anyways was financed through a crowdsourcing website called touscoprod (similar to kickstarter). Dolan directs a music video for French rockband, Indochine, which stirs controversy that leads to banning in France due to its violent and disturbing depiction of bullying.
FILMOGRAPHY (as Writer and Director)
2009 | J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother)
2010 | Les Amours imaginaires (Heartbeats)
2012 | Laurence Anyways
2013 | Tom à la ferme (Tom at A Farm)
2014 | Mommy
2013 | Indochine – College Boy (Music Video)
Image & content adapted from various sources: Anthem Magazine, Interview, Xpressmag, Lab Magazine, Black Book, Ion Cinema, Vulture, Criterion, Huffington Post, AskMen, jetaime-xavierdolan (tumblr), and Youtube interviews.
XAVIER DOLAN FILMS ON KARAMELKINEMA
(Links will be updated as the review is published)
The first Homage article published on KaramelKinema, part of the one year anniversary celebration of the blog. Tell me if you like it and would like to see more of this :D