- Category : Entertain-Business-Director
- Type : ME
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Vessel of Love 1
Xavier Dolan sometimes credited as Xavier Dolan-Tadros, is a Canadian actor, director, screenwriter, editor, costume designer and voice actor.
He began his career as a child actor in commercials before directing several arthouse feature films, initially garnering 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. He has since 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.
Dolan was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is the son of Geneviève Dolan, a Quebecois teacher, and Manuel Tadros, an Egyptian-born Canadian actor and singer with strong ties to the Quebecois entertainment industry. Dolan was a successful child actor.
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, using funds from his extensive work as a child actor. 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. 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".
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".
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, however it failed to receive a nomination from the academy. It was subsequently sold to more than 20 countries. However, due to legal problems experienced by the film's U.S. distributor, Regent Entertainment, it was not released theatrically in the United States until 2013, and once released, it earned little at the box office.
The second feature film Dolan directed, Heartbeats (Les Amours imaginaires), was financed privately. 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. 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'.
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. The film received praise from critics but again failed to find an audience.
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). 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."
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). 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.
The film was singled out by critics as Dolan's "most mature" film to date and became his first film to achieve success at the box office, grossing over $3.5 million domestically in 2014, becoming the highest-selling film in Quebec for 2014. According to the Montreal Gazette, over one million people went to see the film in France. Mommy went on to win the Cesar Award for 'Best Foreign Film' in 2015.
It's Only the End of the World
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. The film was an official selection for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, in competition for the Palme d'Or, though it did not win.
The film premiered to polarized reactions from festival audiences and critics, with Vanity Fair calling it "the most disappointing film at Cannes." The Hollywood Reporter called it “a cold and deeply unsatisfying” film and Variety dubbed it “a frequently excruciating dramatic experience.” During the festival, Dolan spoke out against the negative criticism in the media. Despite this, the film also received positive reviews from critics, including The Guardian calling it a "brilliant, stylised and hallucinatory evocation of family dysfunction."
Ultimately, the film ended up winning the Grand Prix and the Ecumenical Jury Prize. It is scheduled to be released in Quebec and France on 21 September 2016. It was chosen as Canada's submission for the 2017 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
Dolan is in pre-production for his first English-language film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. 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.
In 2015, Dolan was selected to serve on the jury for the main competition section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2015, he directed the music video for "Hello", the lead single from the album 25 by Adele. The video broke the Vevo record for most views in 24 hours, over 27.7 million views. The video was also notable for featuring footage shot in IMAX. Dolan received the Juno Award for Video of the Year for directing the video.
Influences and style
Dolan has said that his work is "not that influenced by other directors". When asked to elaborate in an interview, Dolan said:
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. At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Dolan said that The Piano by Jane Campion was a major inspiration for him.
Dolan is gay and described I Killed My Mother as semi-autobiographical. He has cited seeing the film Titanic as an early influence on his decision to enter the film industry.