Reel Deal

From film to mu­sic videos and fash­ion, Xavier Dolan is a di­rec­tor in de­mand. Chloe Street talks youth, Youtube and chas­ing the next dream with one of the hottest Louis Vuit­ton brand am­bas­sadors

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style | Close-up -

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are still find­ing their feet in life. En­ter Xavier Dolan, the French­cana­dian film­maker who puts them all to shame. The young di­rec­tor, who sits on the Forbes 30 Un­der 30 list, has al­ready cre­ated six ac­claimed fea­ture-length films, an Adele mu­sic video and is the lat­est bound­ary­push­ing, atyp­i­cal choice to be se­lected by Ni­co­las Gh­esquière as a muse. Dolan is cur­rently star­ring in front of the cam­era in Louis Vuit­ton’s spring/sum­mer and pre-fall 2016 menswear col­lec­tions.

“I’m not ner­vous. I’m not afraid of the pub­lic or of the press,” says the self-as­sured au­teur, who at the ten­der age of 20 wrote, di­rected and starred in his first movie, I Killed My Mother, a semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal story about a young ho­mo­sex­ual man at odds with his mum. The film, which Dolan shot in his mother’s trin­ket-filled home in Mon­treal, pre­miered to an eight-minute stand­ing ova­tion at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val in 2009 and took home three Di­rec­tors’ Fort­night awards.

The cre­ative mas­ter­mind has now writ­ten and di­rected six ac­claimed fea­tures and has been in­vited to Cannes five times. “I never take my pres­ence at the fes­ti­val for granted,” he says. “It’s a plea­sure and an hon­our to be there, even if, af­ter time, it be­comes more fa­mil­iar and you be­come more re­laxed.” Last year, he be­came one of the youngest mem­bers ever se­lected to serve on the fes­ti­val’s jury, which was presided over by the Coen brothers, an ex­pe­ri­ence Dolan de­scribes as “out of the or­di­nary—lit­er­ally ex­cep­tional. Never could I have dreamt of that kind of ad­ven­ture, or of that kind of ad­ven­ture hap­pen­ing the way it did.”

Raised in Mont­magny, a mod­est Que­bec town, by a fam­ily in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try—dolan’s fa­ther, Manuel Tadros, is a singer, song­writer, ac­tor and co­me­dian who has ap­peared in three of his son’s films—dolan be­gan his act­ing ca­reer at the age of four, work­ing in com­mer­cials and small TV roles. Nowa­days, along with act­ing in roles out­side his own films (such as last year’s Ele­phant Song), he dubs the voices of nu­mer­ous char­ac­ters for the French-cana­dian mar­ket, in­clud­ing those in the Harry Pot­ter se­ries, The Twi­light Saga—and even Stan on South Park.

Dolan’s on-set up­bring­ing af­forded him a fa­mil­iar­ity with the cam­era, but also granted him a ma­tu­rity and un­der­stand­ing of grownup sub­ject mat­ter that is un­usual for his age. His films fol­low­ing his de­but (Heart­beats, Lau­rence Any­ways and Tom at the Farm) con­tin­ued to cover highly com­plex sub­jects: friends com­pet­ing for the love of the same man, the love be­tween a woman and a trans­gen­der woman liv­ing as a man, and the tale of a for­bid­den gay re­la­tion­ship.

The mother-son theme re­turned in Dolan’s 2014 film Mommy, the tale of an over­whelmed widow at­tempt­ing to nav­i­gate life with a vi­o­lent, Adhd-af­flicted son. The movie tied with Jean-luc Go­dard’s Good­bye to Lan­guage for the Cannes 2014 Jury Prize and be­came his most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful film to date.

“NEVER COULD I HAVE DREAMT OF THAT KIND OF AD­VEN­TURE, OR OF THAT KIND OF AD­VEN­TURE HAP­PEN­ING THE WAY IT DID”

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