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Xavier Dolan’s Cannes acceptance speech

Xavier Dolan’s speech upon winning the Jury Prize at Cannes for his film Mommy was the most emotional moment of the ceremony. Without a clip to show his expressiveness the words may lose a little impact — but very little.

“To Jane Campion: The Piano is the first film I watched when I asked my stepmother at 16, ‘What should I watch?’ Your Piano made me want to write roles for women — beautiful women with soul and will and strength, not victims, not objects.

I’m still young —- but a word for my generation. Some people will dislike what you do, some will dislike who you are. But let’s hold onto our dreams because together we can change the world and changing the world takes time. Not just politicians and scientists can change it. But artists as well. Everything is possible for those who dare and dream and work.”

Interviewed a few minutes later by Macleans and asked if there was any disappointment at not winning the Palme d’Or after all the talk that he might, Dolan said, “Of course. I would be coy right now in giving any statement that I was disappointed. I’m filled with joy to know that a jury at all acknowledged the film.”

As the youngest director in competition this year, how does Dolan feel about sharing the prize with Jean-Luc Godard, the oldest?

“Well, I guess there’s a calculated statement behind that ex-equo jury prize,” he said. Regarding the retirement of Gilles Jacob who has presided at Cannes for the past 14 years, Dolan observed that, “We are at the twilight between two generations.”

“Are you a Godard fan?” Dolan was asked.