At the age of 23 and two years after Heartbeats, a full-length feature film that ranked him firmly alongside the directors of the rising new wave of Quebec cinema, Xavier Dolan presents his second movie in the Official Selection. In Laurence Anyways, the young film-maker takes a look at the amortormented loves of a man who wants to change sex.
What does Un Certain Regard mean to you?
Springtime of 2009.
Why is cinema essential to you?
Because it's a passion, a reflex, the only way in which, whether acting or directing, I can express myself and confide in others. For me, not to make films would be like having thoughts but never being able to express them. It would be hugely frustrating. It's the life I've chosen for myself, and everyday life no longer seems to measure up now I've experienced the pleasures, sensations, energy and adrenalin this art form generates.
Which type of cinema or which film continues to inspire you?
Relatively mainstream US films. Blockbusters. The sentimental dramas of the 1990s, the psycho-thrillers like Se7en or Silence of the Lambs. The films of my childhood like A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Titanic and Batman Returns by Tim Burton, all of which represent subconscious inspirations rooted in the deepest recesses of my memory and my imagination. But my hero is Paul Thomas Anderson. I'd love to have his versatility and virtuosity. He is creative, free, intelligent, sensitive and violent. What's more, we had very similar childhoods – the same sort of wild crazy fury and indiscipline that you find in our films – always semi-fictional, semi-therapeutic. I think it helps us to vent.
What question would you like to ask to any film director?
PTA (Paul Thomas Anderson): how would he describe the secret rapport he has with actors? Would he have wanted to be one? Is he one? Does he admire them? Does he despise them? Does he allow them a lot of freedom? None at all?
What are you expecting from the Festival de Cannes?
The film will be screened at 1.15 pm and 10.15 pm in the Salle Debussy.