While yesterday brought good news to directors, actors, productions and distributors with the Cannes Film Festival unveiling their slate, there is one filmmaker who was a bit prickled at first. Montreal’s Xavier Dolan. The 23-year-old is no stranger to the south of France, winning acclaim for his debut film “J’ai tué ma mère” which premiered at the Director’s Fortnight sidebar. Then in 2010 he graduated to the festival proper, screening “Heartbeats” in the Un Certain Regard category. Many expected his latest effort, “Laurence Anyways,” to finally land him a slot In Competition, but alas, he’s been relegated to Un Certain Regard again, and he admits, it wasn’t the news he was hoping for.
“It’s not the news we were waiting for,” Dolan said while speaking with media on Thursday. “For sure, there’s disappointment. We had envisioned – like any filmmaker who dreams of going to Cannes – of being in competition and winning the Palme d’Or.”
“The fact is the film was judged by the Cannes people to belong in Un certain regard,” he continued. “It’s still part of the official selection. And it remains the most coveted film festival in the world. So it’s still an honour. The disappointment was momentary and is replaced by the excitement of returning to a place that has come to feel like family.”
This may seem a bit ungrateful for the young filmmaker who has had his first three films all played out on the biggest stage possible — an enviable position for anyone who makes movies. But if anyone is aware of his hubris, it’s Dolan himself who isn’t ashamed of having grand ambitions. “…I’m a megalomaniac, I (always) said that’s where I want to go,” he explained about his goals to reach Cannes. “How could I go anywhere else? I will be in official competition right away, and win the Palme d’Or immediately, thank you. You should always dream of reaching the highest point so that you fall just below it. One shouldn’t have Earthly ambitions.”
We gotta admit, we admire Dolan’s drive and we’re looking forward to “Laurence Anyways,” which — fun fact — is currently the longest movie playing either In Competition or Un Certain Regard. The film runs 2 hours and 41 minutes. Ambitious, indeed. [Montreal Gazette]