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Les Amours Imaginaires gets standing ovation in Cannes

21-year-old Xavier Dolan received a standing ovation at the Cannes Fest this weekend for his second film, Les Amours imaginaires. CTV reports:

“I’ve been in interviews the whole day so I’m just starting to read the reviews,” [Dolan] told The Canadian Press on Sunday. “But the public reception was really warm, it was very moving.”

Dolan plays Francis “a sensitive intellectual gay man” and Monika Chokri stars as his best friend Marie “a sharp-tongued woman who dresses in vintage.” Says Mike Goodridge, Screen Daily:

Both of them are attracted to a young man in their circle called Nicolas (Niels Schneider), a sexy guy with a mop of blond hair who is new in town and looking for friends.

Both fall hard for the outgoing, intelligent Nicolas and each is led on by his flirtatious and tactile manner but neither can work out whether he is gay or straight or interested in either of them. The two begin a duel of sorts in which they try to outdo the other in his affections…

While Dolan’s visual tricksiness and mannerisms wear on the patience, he does achieve occasional moments of visual poetry and, appropriately bearing in mind his age, captures the despair and longing of young heartache. This time he also laces the angst with a dose of caustic humour missing from last year’s I Killed My Mother. His intrepid experimentation with visual language is not always successful but suggests great things from the young film-maker in the future.

IndieWire‘s Eric Kohn is less infatuated:

A hyperstylized “Jules and Jim” update, Canadian actor-turned-filmmaker prodigy Xavier Dolan’s French language romance “Heartbeats” (“Les Amour Imaginaires”) is as hip as he intends it. At the same time, this chic look at a bisexual love triangle occasionally feels too entangled in its own cool maneuvers.

…Dolan appears to have taken more precise cues from Pedro Almod√≥var: He repeatedly turns to familiar visual trickery to inject elegance into the scenario, as if to distract from its constant redundancies. Slo-mo is a common effect. Symphonic music intentionally overstates the mood. A steady onslaught of poetic imagery, much of it imagined, often reaches overbearing proportions…

In a sense, “Heartbeats” demonstrates that Dolan has a lot on his mind as a budding filmmaker. The movie is a classy rumination on the single theme that it drives home again and again, and avoids sheer redundancy only because the production remains so ably constructed.

Les Amours imaginaires opens in Quebec on June 11 and expands to the rest of Canada this fall.

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