French-Canadian filmmaker, enfant terrible and cinematic wunderkind Xavier Dolan might have walked away from this year’s Cannes Film Festival with a Grand Jury Prize for his latest, “It’s Only the End of the World,” but that doesn’t mean he’ll be returning to the festival where he’s seen so much success.
In a new post on his Instagram, Dolan says he will not submit his next feature, “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” to the festival, partly because it simply won’t be done in time, and partly because of the kind of “trolling, bullying and unwarranted hatred” he sees as part of the current critical climate. Check out his post below.
Although Dolan’s “It’s Only the End of the World,” starring Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel, won at Cannes — the Grand Jury Prize is the runner-up to the Palme d’Or, which went to “I, Daniel Blake” — Dolan’s film was widely savaged by critics. Dolan even took the time to call out a particular critic and her C- review — Jessica Kiang from The Playlist — both on his Twitter account and in a later interview with the Los Angeles Times. (Our own Eric Kohn gave the film a C, you can read his review right here.)
Dolan has previously hinted that “John F. Donovan” might not be Cannes-bound — as The Playlist reminds, he recently told The Montreal Gazette, “I don’t think I’d present a film like this at Cannes. It’s a film about an American TV star who is framed by the American media system. There are bits in it that are so much like what I lived in Cannes, and I’m afraid that people would think it’s my revenge project. Except that I wrote it five years ago (with Jacob Tierney).”
In short, it’s a film critical of the same media system that is critical of Dolan.
The film stars Kit Harington, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Ben Schnetzer, Michael Gambon, Bella Thorne, Thandie Newton, Chris Zylka and Emily Hampshire, and follows an American television star over many years.
Dolan’s relationship with Cannes has long been a very strong one, and the festival has routinely awarded him scads of prizes, including a Jury Prize for his “Mommy,” a Queer Palm for “Laurence Anyways” and a SCAD Prize for “I Killed My Mother.” He’s twice competed for the Palme d’Or and his first entry, 2009’s “I Killed My Mother,” pulled in a series of awards and nods independent from its SCAD win, which goes to the best film in the Directors’ Fortnight section. Of his six completed feature films, all of them, save “Tom at the Farm,” have played at the festival.
And, despite this public announcement, the director vows that he is “infinitely grateful” to the festival and “no criticism nor bitterness towards criticism can ever deter” him from submitting his films to the festival.