Xavier Dolan

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Xavier Dolan
Xavier Dolan Cannes 2015 3.jpg
Dolan in Cannes, 2015
Born (1989-03-20) 20 March 1989 (age 26)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Occupation Film director, actor, voice actor, screenwriter, film editor, film producer
Parent(s) Manuel Tadros
Geneviève Dolan

Xavier Dolan (born 20 March 1989), sometimes credited as Xavier Dolan-Tadros, is a Canadian actor and filmmaker.

Early life[edit]

Dolan was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is the son of Geneviève Dolan, a teacher, and Manuel Tadros, an Egyptian-born Canadian actor and singer with strong ties in the Quebecois entertainment industry.[1] Dolan was a successful child actor.[citation needed]


Early Work[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. 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 3 awards— the Art Cinema Award, the SACD Prize for screenplay and the Prix Regards Jeunes[2] — and built on its success by winning even more honours on the international festival circuit, including a Lumière Award, 4 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."

Peter Brunette of The Hollywood Reporter summed up the opinion of many critics — and even Dolan himself, who admitted the film was “flawed” — by calling 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.”[3]

The film did receive the Claude Jutra Award at the Genies, and Dolan was awarded the inaugural $5,000 Jay Scott Prize for emerging talent from the Toronto Film Critics Association. J’ai tué ma mère 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 by the academy.[3][4]

I Killed My Mother was subsequently sold to more than 20 countries.[5] However, due to legal problems experienced by the film’s US distributor, Regent Entertainment, it was not released theatrically in the United States until 2013, and once released, it made little money.

After I Killed My Mother, Dolan directed his second feature film, Heartbeats (Les Amours imaginaires), which was financed privately.[5] 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.[6] It won the top prize of the Official Competition at the Sydney Film Festival in June and screened at several film festivals throughout the following year, but once again, failed to find audiences and profit in non-French-speaking countries. Despite this, it received several Genie nominations and the AQCC (Québec association of film critics) for 'Best Film.'[3]

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.[7][8] The film received praise from critics but once again failed to find an audience.

In May 2012, Dolan announced that his fourth film would be an adaption of Michel Marc Bouchard's play Tom at the Farm (Tom à la ferme).[9] 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 wasn't released in the United States until 2015. Dolan spoke on his frustration with the release process of his films thus far in an August 2015 interview with The Guardian, in which he 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."[10]

2014 – present: Mommy, First English-language film[edit]

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).[11] The Jury president at 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."[12] The film was singled out by critics as being Dolan's "most mature" film to date[13] and became his first film to achieve considerate success at the global box office, grossing over 3.5 million domestically in 2014, becoming the highest-selling film in Quebec for 2014.[14] According to the Montreal Gazette, over 1 million people went to see the film in France.[14] Mommy went on to win the Cesar Award for 'Best Foreign Film' in 2015.[15]

The following year, Dolan was selected to serve on the jury for the main competition section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[16][17]

Dolan is currently in pre-production for his first English-language film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.[18] The film, for which Dolan is writing the screenplay with Jacob Tierney, 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.[19]

Dolan is also adapting the play Juste la fin du Monde by Jean-Luc Lagarce for the screen, to be 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 and the film is slated for a 2016 release.[20]

In 2015, he directed the music video for "Hello", the lead single from the album 25 by Adele.[21] The video went on to break the VEVO record for most views in 24 hours, accumulating over 27.7 million views in the timeframe.[22] The video was also notable for featuring footage shot in IMAX.[23]

Influences and style[edit]

Dolan has stated that his work is "not that influenced by other directors".[24] 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."[25]

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.[26] At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Dolan said that The Piano by Jane Campion was a major inspiration for him.

Personal life[edit]

Dolan identifies as gay[27] and described I Killed My Mother as semi-autobiographical.[28][29] His has cited seeing the film Titanic as an early influence on deciding to enter the film industry.[30]


As director[edit]

As actor[edit]

As voice actor (in French)[edit]

As music video director[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Perreaux, Les; Renzetti, Elizabeth (25 May 2009). "Québécois filmmaker electrifies Cannes". The Globe and Mail. 
  2. ^ "Québécois filmmaker electrifies Cannes". The Globe and Mail, 25 May 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "Xavier Dolan". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  4. ^ "Xavier Dolan's long road to instant success". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  5. ^ a b "Rezo wraps up Dolan's 'Love'". Variety, 10 February 2010.
  6. ^ "Xavier Dolan: Flattered, but fretting about Cannes return" 24 May 2009.
  7. ^ "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  8. ^ "Dolan in two minds over Cannes". Times Colonist. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  9. ^ "Xavier Dolan fourth film, is an Adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard's Play 'Tom à la Ferme'". Charlie Schmidlin. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  10. ^ Smith, Nigel M. "Xavier Dolan: 'Film-making is not liberating'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  11. ^ "Awards 2014 : Competition". Cannes. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Xan Brooks (25 May 2014). "Cannes festival ready for shut-eye after Winter Sleep wins Palme d'Or". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Mommy is a more mature and fully rounded expression of everything Xavier Dolan has gleaned in the past half-decade". www.vancouversun.com. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  14. ^ a b "Mommy continues its box office dominance". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  15. ^ "Xavier Dolan's Mommy wins best foreign film at France's César Awards". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  16. ^ "The Jury of the 68th Cannes Film Festival". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "Jake Gyllenhaal, Sienna Miller and Guillermo del Toro Join Cannes Film Festival Jury". The Wrap. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Xavier Dolan Writing His First American Film 'The Death & Life of John F. Donovan' & More From MoMa". Blackbook. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates Board 'Mommy' Director's First English-Language Project (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "Xavier Dolan's Next Film Teams Him With Marion Cotillard For 'Juste la fin du Monde'". IndieWire. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "Watch: Xavier Dolan Directed Video For Adele's "Hello"". The Playlist. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  22. ^ "Adele's 'Hello' breaks Taylor Swift's record for single-day views". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  23. ^ "Meet Xavier Dolan, the Indie Director Behind Adele’s "Hello" Music Video". Vogue. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  24. ^ Myers, Emma (24 June 2013). "Interview: Xavier Dolan". Film Comment. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  25. ^ "Interview: Xavier Dolan – Film Comment". Film Comment. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  26. ^ 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.) 
  27. ^ "Xavier Dolan: The New Woody Allen, Only Younger, Cuter and Gay". Huffington Post, 22 February 2011.
  28. ^ 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) 
  29. ^ Lacey, Liam (4 February 2010). "Xavier Dolan's long road to instant success". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  30. ^ "How Titanic Changed Director Xavier Dolan’s Life". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]