NEWS

Xavier Dolan calls Orson Welles 'a late bloomer'

10/03/2014 03:50 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST
It really has been Xavier Dolan's year.

Quebec's wunderkind director is riding high on a wave of success after his latest film, Mommy, premiered at Cannes to a rapturous standing ovation before snagging the festival's prestigious Jury Prize.

Not long after his victorious return to Montreal,  Mommy was selected as Canada's contender for the best foreign language film at the Academy Awards.

Not bad for a young man who turned 25 in March.

Delving ​into dysfunction

With just a quarter century behind him, Dolan already has five feature films under his belt, all of them delving into complex emotional territory.

The young auteur made it all the way to Cannes in 2009 with his debut feature I Killed My Mother. The tender yet dysfunctional love story depicts a single mother and her gay son as a troubled couple.

​Dolan returns to loaded mother-son relationships in Mommy.

Like his first film, the visually striking and operatic new project once again stars Anne Dorval in the maternal role, this time as an outrageous single mother with a hyperactive, tyrannical teenage son (played by Antoine Olivier Pilon).

In characteristically bold style, Dolan shot Mommy in a square 1:1 aspect ratio.

Variety magazine's critic Peter Debruge called the film "a funny, heartbreaking and, above all, original work — that feels derivative of no one, not even himself."

Criticism and comparisons

It's Dolan's apparent emotional wisdom and audacious stylistic choices that have some critics drawing comparisons to Orson Welles, the legendary American writer and director who made his first film at 25.

Dolan brushed off the comparison in a feature interview with CBC's Wendy Mesley.

"He was lazy," quipped Dolan, who made his first picture at 19. "He's a late bloomer."

"I don't create with my age you know, it's not an obstacle, it's not an asset, I don't use it, I don't think about it, I just create and do what I have to do." 

It's this unapologetic solipsism that has earned Dolan the reputation as the bad boy of Quebec cinema, with some critics dismissing him as self-indulgent and pretentious.

"There's a fair amount of people who like me and don't like me," observed Dolan. 

"I just speak my mind, for me it's absolutely normal."

Tune into the The National Friday night for Wendy Mesley's full interview with Xavier Dolan.

Watch a preview of their conversation in the video above.

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