Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Les Amours Imaginaires
The new movie from young Québec film maker, Xavier Dolan (who writes, directs, stars and even has a hand in the costumes) is certainly an interesting second effort. Heavily influenced by the French New wave Cinema in style and lacking, on purpose, a complicated screenplay which lets you get more into the beautifully filmed and executed character interplay. All the performances are fantastic, even if the three main characters get upstaged a bit by the intercutting of people talking about their bad relationships documentary style, which is quite funny.
When pals Francis and Marie meet a somewhat mysteriously androgynous Nicholas at a party, they both get pulled under his spell. The film is a sort of love triangle, except the 3 people involved won’t even admit there is any romantic attraction until it has become apparent to the audience that the object of their affections is a self absorbed jerk, getting off on pitting two friends against each other. In the end both hearts get broken along with their friendship. Pretty boy of course goes off to find more people to worship him and plays dumb to the whole situation.
I love how the film is shot, at some points you’d swear the camera is only focused on the back of someone’s neck walking away in slow motion, or close ups of a sexy guy’s belly hairline, but it all works and draws you in. Marie’s obsession with looking like Audrey Hepburn is handled well and Francis’ pain when his object of desire coldly states , “What made you think I was gay?”, when he’s done nothing but give hints to that effect all through the film is truly heartbreaking to see.
My one problem is the film ends too late. After all is said and done, the friends slowly start to repair their relationship, shown in a brilliant rain scene where Marie’s umbrella slowly (because you are looking at the back of their necks walking away in slow motion of course) makes it’s way over Francis’s head and they share it’s protection. Everything afterward does nothing but make you lose respect for the two, who seemingly fall back into the same trap all over again as if the whole movie never happened.
That useless epilogue is almost a minor quibble compared to how successful this movie is overall, however. It invites discussion of all sorts and makes you think without being preachy or obvious. In many ways it really is a throw back in substance as well as style to the 60’s French New Wave or 70’s art house film idea of what film can be in the hands of a very talented young director.