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05 October 2014

Xavier Dolan (Brun Philippines' Cover for October 2014)

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One of my friends introduced me to the films of Xavier Dolan by handing me a DVD box set. From where he got it, I do not know. And since he also recommended Apitchatpong Weerasethakul a few years back, I quickly took my friend's word when he said, "Xavier Dolan is a talented filmmaker." I first watched  "J'ai tué ma mère" (I Killed My Mother) and I was blown away. The film was minimalist but the writing and direction were confident, topped by engaging performances of the two leading actors. Dolan, incidentally, played the lead role. "J'ai tué ma mère" was Dolan's first film, which he wrote and directed at age 20.  His subsequent three films were critically acclaimed. "Les Amours imaginaires" (Heartbeats) is his homage to Wong Kar Wai's "In the Mood for Love." "Lawrence Anyways" explored the complexities of gender relations. "Tom à la ferme" (Tom at the Farm) is a psychological thriller, reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's works.  Dolan's works also exhibited some influence from Jane Campion. Interestingly, he may sometimes borrow from old masters but he cleverly makes what he borrows his own. 

Dolan's films are fascinating because most of the scenes in his films are textured. Simply paying attention to the dialogues or the acting is not enough. Dolan creates a tapestry in the screen. One example: pay attention to the furniture and walls. But his real gift is his knack for scene execution. "J'ai tué ma mère"  follows a simple plot but he executed his scenes brilliantly, bringing out little details about mother and son. In "Tom à la ferme," he refused to reveal important details about the story, and viewers are left to fill in the missing links; for example, the changes in the position of the beds, and the blocking of characters in a scene. 

Dolan's latest film, "Mommy" was chosen as Canada's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Category at the coming 87th Oscars in 2015. 


Cover Image taken from Grolsch Filmworks. Click this to visit the site.

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