|Scene from It's Only the End of the World|
If you're anyone who follows international cinema, then you'll have a passing recognition of French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan. At the age of 27, he has had an impressive career that puts him leagues ahead of several other young directors. Of his five films as director, the lowest on critics aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes has Heartbeats at 73%. If nothing else, he has a promising career ahead of him and if whatever he does compares to last year's phenomenal Mommy, he doesn't have much to worry about. While his latest, It's Only the End of the World, looks to have a divisive reception already, its first trailer promises a tense family dinner and a great cast that features Lea Seydoux, Marion Cotillard, and Vincent Cassell. It may be a slight and simple trailer, but it definitely packs the punch that we've come to expect from Dolan.
I admit personally that Dolan is a filmmaker that I just found out about last year with Mommy. I haven't had much opportunity to visit his filmography in full, though I've heard that Laurence Anyways is a fantastic and assured film. What makes Dolan so fascinating (besides that he's not that much older than me and makes me feel inferior) is how assured he is of his craft and able to tell a captivating story. While I admit that my exposure to international cinema on an annual basis is minimal when compared to American cinema, he has quickly become a personal favorite thanks to Mommy, which is a film that embodies a troubled youth's complicated relationship with his mother. It's heartbreaking and stylish in equal doses with possibly the best use of Oasis' overplayed hit "Wonderwall." I'd go on, but it's one of those films that I enjoyed because of the feeling of discovering something wonderful and new.
Beyond Mommy, I have seen Tom At the Farm, which is more traditional but still very well directed. Still, I have high hopes for whatever he does next, considering that he's coming off of such an assured film that it's hard to find much fault even if the film is as bad as its reputation out of Cannes seems to be. Still, if he's as playful and complicated as he has been in the past, I am willing to accept a less than amazing film. However, the cast is pretty promising and the anticipation is pretty high. Seriously, give this guy a shot if you haven't.
Here's the trailer:
Looks pretty good. Here's the plot description according to IMDb:
Louis (Gaspard Ulliel), a terminally ill writer, returns home after a long absence to tell his family that he is dying.
True, it doesn't sound like the most riveting of stories. But considering that Mommy saw a simple mother-son story that went into invigorating directions, it's hopeful that Dolan will do the same here. After all, he works best in a dramatic environment. While this is essentially voice over on top of clips that capture the story, it is still something that lets us into the worldview and gives us an idea of what to expect. It may not be the most riveting trailer, but its slow introduction to the world is excellent and gives me hope that it could be good.
My one hope beyond spreading interest for Dolan's latest is that you will give his work a chance. As mentioned, I haven't seen much of his, but he is one of the best young directors currently working. Maybe as the film approaches I will do more think pieces and retrospectives of his work. For now, I hope to get you excited about the director who was on the Oscar short list last year but missed the final cut. One can only hope that he makes it not only onto that list, but onto the general radar as he finally ages into his 30's and becomes not just a young director, but a seasoned one.