Quebecios filmmaker Xavier Dolan returns to Cannes this week, ten years after his debut film “I Killed My Mother” wowed the Croisette, with “Matthias and Maxime” in which two young childhood male friends begin to question their true feelings after a kiss as adults.
Dolan’s work in the past has often centered on gay protagonists and mothers with strong personalities, often combining both elements. With his new film however he’s less inclined to ascribe his lead as being gay as it explores the millennial generation’s more fluid attitude toward sexual identity along with how the emotional and physical intimacy between male friends can be as close if not closer than their romantic partners.
Speaking at the film’s press conference, he tells Indiewire that he rejects the idea of this being labelled a gay love story and one much more about the choices these two men make about their level of closeness:
“This film is not gay, It’s life. We never talk about heterosexual films. ‘Oh, I saw this great heterosexual love story.’ For me, it’s not a story of homosexuality or gay love. Ultimately, I don’t think that the two protagonists are aware that it is gay love. It’s love.
The film is not just a mixture of my preceding films, it’s an opportunity for me from a formal stance to try something different and explore another part of myself, in terms of being more restrained, making more artistic decisions. I’m not going to spend my entire life filming people who quarrel in the kitchen.
I love characters who are cruel because they are not happy living their life as it doesn’t reflect their most inner feelings. I like characters who have very strong reactions in terms of their environment and their friends, because they may feel a bit shameful about themselves.”
The filmmaker shot the film with a more neutral, halftone palette than his previous and more ostentatious work. Dolan’s previous film, the Kit Harington-led “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” is expected to hit VOD in July and he’ll be seen on screen in a small but key role as Adrian Mellon in “IT: Chapter Two” in September.
“Matthias and Maxime” has yet to set a release date.