The youngest filmmaker of the Official Selection is the French-Canadian Xavier Dolan, who, at just 21 years old, will today present his new film Heartbeats for Un Certain Regard.
His first film, J’ai Tué ma Mère (I Killed my Mother), which he wrote at the age of 17, was selected for the Directors' Fortnight in 2009, and thereafter gained international distribution.
Xavier Dolan remembers his first selection for the Festival de Cannes: “In the short term, it’s a very prestigious invitation. In the longer term, it’s an invitation to go further in my work. It’s a subliminal message which means: we respect your work and your approach.” (Journal de Québec newspaper)
Heartbeats tells the story of two friends besotted with the same person. As they go from one meeting to another, unsettled by countless signs – some palpable, some imaginary – the two protagonists become obsessed with their fantasy and this soon begins to threaten their friendship.
For his new film - the idea for which came to him on a train journey from Montreal to Toronto during which he also wrote a first draft - the director recognises two things: the huge difference compared to his first film, and the influence of Husbands and Wives by Woody Allen.
Xavier Dolan, who is now a celebrity in Quebec, thinks French-Canadian cinema should retain its unique nature, and remain distinct from the big American productions in order to find its place and be exported to the rest of the world.