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.

“No.”

12 Comments on this Post

  1. Jeremy

    Xavier Dolan 2 years ago to Criterion on Pierrot le fou: “The ultimate freedom. Freedom of words, freedom of images, freedom of colors, and freedom of love. This is Godard at the acme of his art, the apex of his craft. A cinema that never denies itself anything.”

    Xavier Dolan 1 year ago to Calum Marsh: “I’ve seen maybe two Godard films and I really don’t like them.”

    Make up your mind, sir

  2. “The ultimate freedom. Freedom of words, freedom of images, freedom of colors, and freedom of love. This is Godard at the acme of his art, the apex of his craft. A cinema that never denies itself anything.”

    ok, but he said all that the time he woke up Anne Dorval in the middle of the night jabbering non-stop on speed or ecstasy or something.

    This is Godard at the acme of his art, the apex of his craft…

    or… that’s just a polite way of saying “it was all downhill for Godard after that”

    :)

    (I didn’t mean to sound snappish earlier, jeremy.)

  3. Dolan… My cher enfant…

  4. steve50

    Well, Dolan may not like Godard’s films, but without Godard’s busting the cherry of cinema language, Dolan wouldn’t have a way to tell his own stories. 25 is a bit young to get jaded, sweetheart.

  5. David

    Go Canada…

  6. Andre

    not a fan of the guy’s films, but those are some beautiful words right there. happy for him (and kinda jealous of his massive success at such a young age, too – healthily so, though :P)

    also, I’m not a big fan of Godard, either.

  7. Koleś

    Did anyone ask Godard if he is a Dolan fan?

  8. ‘Did anyone ask Godard if he is a Dolan fan?’

    Was thinking the exact same thing…

  9. Simon Warrasch

    Xavier Dolan should have won the Golden Palm! Not only for this speech but for directing a Movie like “Mommy” with the age of 25!! Speechless…

  10. Bryce Forestieri

    LOL Damn, and here I was over the moon about what he said about CRIES AND WHISPERS (one of the best five in film history), now I’m dreading a Bergman diss, and don’t know what to believe anymore! People are going “OMGah he’s just 25, give him a break”. 25 is fucking grown man, but I guess in industry time he’s just a kid? No. I don’t share that double standard. I’ve only seen 2 of his 5 films so I’ll get back to you with my verdict about him as a filmmaker. I mean, PTA was 27 when he made BOOGIE NIGHTS and HARD EIGHT at 26, let’s not get carried away with this narrative.

    Having said all that, I really dug the speech and especially really liked him during the press conference; granted those are the only two times I’ve heard him speak at any length.

    Anyways there seems to be A LOT of confusion about Godard, as always I’m here to help. Let me rank the great Godards by order of priority (yes, priority in which you should watch them!). And yes, these are the only ones. He reinvented Cinema with more than a couple of these, and the rest and mere masterpieces. Yes, there rest is horseshit, yes, that’s how deep he fell.

    1. BREATHLESS (1960)
    2. MASCULIN FEMININ (1966)
    3. VIVRE SA VIE (1962)
    4. BAND OF OUTSIDERS (1964)
    5. WEEK-END (1967)
    6. CONTEMPT (1963)
    7. A WOMAN IS A WOMAN (1961)
    8. LE PETIT SOLDAT (1963)
    9. PIERROT LE FOU (1965)
    10. TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER (1966)
    11. LES CARABINIERS (1963)
    12. A MARRIED WOMAN (1964)
    13. ALPHAVILLE (1965)

    The rest, neither the second coming (e.g., BREATHLESS) or a masterpiece (e.g., CONTEMPT), but do consider them essential since they came out within that period, feel free to skip them IF you have a day job and children:

    12. MADE IN U.S.A.
    13. LA CHINOISE

    But! If you’re sure to watch them all -like I was- just see them chronologically (works too).

  11. Bryce Forestieri

    p.s. I do realize my Godard power rank is hella controversial. No, it’s not too high, trust me. Shhh.

Leave a Comment

Warning: Do not abuse your right to comment here. You will be deleted.