Canada's Xavier Dolan returns home after 'greatest moment ever' at Cannes
Katherine DeClerq, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, May 26, 2014 3:06PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 26, 2014 4:50PM EDT
Montreal-born actor, writer and director Xavier Dolan has returned home to Montreal after winning the Jury Prize for his film “Mommy” at the Cannes Film Festival.
He shared the award with 83-year old French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who won for his film “Goodbye to Language.”
Dolan, 25, has quickly become a fan-favourite in the film world.
Co-worker and colleague Anne Dorval described her Cannes experience with Dolan as like being with “Mick Jagger,” with people screaming his name on the streets.
“Being there in that theatre, filled with history, (a) theatre that has been populated by greatest figures and heroes of cinema is very moving in itself,” Dolan said at a press conference Monday. “ And then when people are acclaiming your film and everyone is crying and you are surrounded by the people you love the most, well, what can I say. It is the greatest moment ever.”
As the youngest director at the Cannes Film Festival, Dolan said Saturday he accepted the Jury Prize on behalf of “my generation.”
His acceptance speech spoke of ambition and the ability to dream. Young people, he said, should not limit their ambitions, but aspire for greatness.
He also thanked the president of the Jury Prize, Jane Campion, and said it was her film, “The Piano,” that inspired him to write strong female characters.
His accomplishment is amplified by the fact that he is only 25-years-old, but Dolan doesn’t see age as an obstacle.
“Ideally, I would not build limits for myself based upon my age, because when exactly should I start telling stories and sharing what’s in me,” he said at a press conference last Thursday. “I think there is a proper way to know how to tell stories -- but I don’t think there is a proper age to start telling them.”
“Mommy” is a heartfelt tale of a widowed single mother who raises a son struggling to deal with his ADHD. Dolan made the decision to showcase Quebecois culture and language in “Mommy,” saying that he had to stay authentic and true to who he is. To help the audience, he used both English and French subtitles.
The film was highly praised, and was even considered a contender for the coveted Palme d’Or prize.
Dolan has written and directed six different films over the last six years, and “Mommy” was his fourth showcased at the Cannes Festival.
His directional debut in 2009 reportedly earned him an eight-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Festival. Dolan wrote that film -- “I Killed My Mother,” a semi-autobiographical story about a young boy discovering his homosexuality and battling with his mother -- when he was 17. “I Killed My Mother” won three awards in the Director's Fortnight Program.
Dolan was also recently asked about this “boundless energy” and artistic vision.
“I don’t know, it’s my passion,” he said. “It’s not a duty for me. It’s not like work. I don’t feel like I have to make a film every year or every six months. I don’t think it’s an absolute requirement. It’s just my mode of expression.
“It creates a big adrenaline spurt. It’s like a hard drug. You need more of it all the time. And I need a lot. I need to express myself.”
Dolan began acting at age three in television commercials. In 1994, he stared in his first TV movie, called “Misericorde,” and in 2008 he made it onto the big screen with horror flick “Martyrs.”
While most of his films have been written and performed in French, Dolan has just finished an English screenplay and is working with Montreal filmmaker Jacob Turney to see if there is any interest in its production.