Another triumph for Xavier Dolan in Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival has always been good for Xavier Dolan and he will be no exception for “Matthias & Maxime”, warmly applauded for eight minutes after his world premiere on Wednesday: another triumph. The Quebec filmmaker delivers an intimate drama about identity and friendship, while retained (for him), superbly realized and interpreted.
“It’s been 10 years since I landed in Cannes with I killed my mother . Since then, it has been so rewarding, so many meetings, so many moments like these. Thank you, that’s all, “he mumbled at the end of the projection.

Dolan, in a dark black suit, had inherited an ungrateful niche for his climb of the steps, at 16h. Less agitation than usual, so, and a little less “stars”.

Marion Cotillard and Gaspard Ulliel, who played in Just the End of the World , Grand Prix here in 2016, were present, as was a Quebec contingent including producer Denise Robert, lyricist Luc Plamondon, and Monia Chokri and Anne-Élisabeth Bossé. present my brother’s wife a week ago.

But once in the room, the festival-goers who filled the Grand Théâtre Lumière gave him an ovation that moved him to tears. And that was before the start of the screening.

After his films “French” ( Just the End of the World ) and “American” ( My Life with John F. Donovan ), Xavier Dolan has found his mark by turning in Quebec and resuming themes that are familiar to him. This refined film, despite here and there its usual little tics concerning the cries and the music too supported, also charms by its incisive dialogues (one of its main strengths).

Matthias & Maxime is in line with the first two films of Dolan. There he approaches again the friendship, the sexual identity, the desire, the incommunicability, the incompatibility, the relation with the mother … Anne Dorval takes again this role, in a quite different register this time, but with a chasm still who separates her from her son, Maxime (Dolan).

This time, the main subject is rather the troubled relationship that binds him to Matthias (Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas), a long-time friend. At an evening at the cottage with the gang of chums, woven tight, the duo participate in a short film where they must kiss. A simple kiss that will change the dynamics of the group and upset their lives, on the eve of Maxime’s departure for Australia …

Of course, we can blame the man of 30 years (only, it should be remembered) not to have sought to broaden his horizons and took great risks with this sentimental tragedy – those who hate him is the word just, do not change your mind. After the lukewarm reception, to put it mildly, of Donovan (still unpublished in Quebec), we can understand this homecoming.

However, this would be to miss out on greater stylistic assurance, less exacerbated. There are still some pieces of bravery. Allusions to cinema abound, from Wilder’s Twilight Boulevard to Arcand and Almodóvar’s films.

For 10 years, one insists a lot, with reason, on the control of the realization, its ingenuity. We forget almost two important things: Xavier Dolan plays and directs his actors very well.

He assures the role of Maxime, supported by impeccable and impressive performances of Anne Dorval, of course, but also Pierre-Luc Funk, in the role of his friend Rivette, and Micheline Bernard, the mother of the latter.

After a Jury Prize and a Grand Prize, the logical step would be the Palme d’Or. But can this intimate drama seduce so much a jury composed mostly of remarkable filmmakers? Not sure. It lacks a little intensity and resonance, despite a good dramatic rise.

Still, it is indeed a feature film that bears the signature Xavier Dolan, fully assumed. And to use a cliché worn on the rope, we are dealing with a work of “maturity”.

* * *

If there is a South Korean film that Quebeckers can identify with, it is Parasite ( Gisaenhchung ), as the brilliant feature film by Bong Joon-ho portrays a family of grunts. With the difference that they are not unemployed by choice, starting with the patriarch.

Things will change when the eldest son begins to teach English at the wealthy Park. “Kevin” will manage to get his sister hired, then his parents trapping the driver and the housekeeper. They put in motion a gear that will spare no one.

Like A Family Story , 2018 Palme d’or for Hirokazu Kore-eda, Parasite begins with the light tone of comedy, with a lot of biting and rhythm. Little by little, things are going to fester and take a dramatic turn, not to say horrifying. With a final to crack the heart.

The director of Transperceneige (2013) illustrates with his customary virtuosity the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Under the guise of a domestic narrative, Parasite , in the very violence of the title, implicitly denounces social inequalities, the precariousness of jobs, the exploitation of one another by the others and the turmoil that eventually ensues (see the yellow vests). ).

For his second presence in competition, after Okja in 2017, caught in the heart of the Netflix controversy, Bong Joon-ho could well interfere in the charts this time …



In the French film Suzanne Clément directed her first film, a short film entitled Relay . It is Gaël Cabouat, the producer of the Game (2018), in which she plays, who convinced the Quebec actress to go behind the camera. “I loved doing it, but I have never been so anxious. I understood a lot about the work of a director, “said the one we saw at Xavier Dolan and in Unit 9 . The 50-year-old has just completed two TV series and also shot in Matthew Bissonnette’s Death of a Ladies Man with Gabriel Byrne as Leonard Cohen.


That the works of the last years on the Boccacabana walk gave nice results. There are two sea fronts in Cannes. A beach along the famous Boulevard de la Croisette and very large portions are reserved for luxury hotel guests. And another, on the other side of the marina, mostly frequented by locals. This is where we redid the pavement, added a wide bike lane (encroaching on the street), installed exercise modules and public benches … connected by solar panels on their surface. Probably hard to apply in Quebec, but still …


“No, there is no recycling. Maybe next year. Say it. “I’ll do better than that, I’ll write it. It’s still incredible that, on the festival site, attended by more than 25,000 people, there is almost nothing to recycle! There are at least two huge paper trays near our lockers. And the volume of the paperwork we are given to much less, fortunately. Same thing at my hotel, notice. There’s nothing … I take paper, plastic and co in my backpack to a municipal recycling bin. Not the ideal.

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