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
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”