Fresh off the success of his fifth film “Mommy”, the 25 year old Canadian directer is set to expand his brand with a submission to the 87th Academy Awards under the foreign language film category. “Mommy” tells the story of single parent Diane (Anne Dorval), her violent and troubled son Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon), and the assistance they get from their new neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clement). After already winning Prix du Jury and being nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Dolan is set for global domination.
Fans of Dolan will notice some recurring themes in the above trailer. The most notable being the cast. Anne Dorval already appeared in Dolan’s debut film J’ai Tue Ma Mere in 2009 which also starred Clement who also appeared again in Dolan’s award winning 2012 film Laurence Anyways. Dolan’s work primarily deals with everyday issues such as family conflict (J’ai Tue Ma Mere), unrequited love (Heartbeats and Laurence Anyways), and loss (Tom a la Ferme). Although the themes presented seem to be ordinary and overdone, it’s the execution on Dolan’s half which transforms these films into award winners. Elements of surrealism and avant garde litter Dolan’s works.
The artistic aspects coupled with slow motion shots turn mundane plot points into works of art. Ordinary life is turned on it’s with the inclusion of magic realism, poetic fallacy, and the strategically placed music.
Anyone at all familiar with Xavier Dolan will know the importance of music to the over all feel of the film. His films soundtracks could be linked to those of Sofia Coppola. “Mommy” features 90’s pop hits by Counting Crows, Dido, and Oasis making it the most mainstream in terms of music. “Laurence Anyways” employed the use of Moderat’s “New Error” in it’s trailer as well as music by The Cure and Duran Duran. The use of music in Laurence Anyways expresses the passing of time and the characters true nature. Dolan’s most well placed piece of music has to be Dalida’s Italian cover of Sonny & Cher’s “Bang Bang” in “Heartbeats”. In “Heartbeats” the music and accompanying scene shows the audience the shallow nature of the two main characters – Francis (Dolan) and Marie (Monia Chokri).
The above is only a selection of the artistic means in which Dolan transforms his films into pieces of art. With Mommy, which has been described by The Gurdian’s Peter Bradshaw as being “a splashy, transgressive treat, from trailer-trash chat to unexpected sex and surprising emotional depth”, set to be released into the world Dolan’s fame is set to continue growing. While the name Xavier Dolan is currently known most in the Canadian and LGBT film industries, it is set to make long overdue splash in the mainstream media.