Xavier Dolan: "Art is useless and dedicating yourself to the cinema is a waste of time"

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The fact that one completes what is probably his best film (even if it is a series) just at the same time that he announces his retirement from the cinema and exhibits his contempt for everything that has been his life up to now can seem like a provocation. Or the greatest of frivolities. Or, coming from Xavier Dolan (Montreal, 1989), it is possible that it is all at once. Few directors are so determined to claim for themselves and their cinema, and from the deepest convictions, the value of the superficial, the agony of the everyday and even the tragedy of the frivolous. The night Logan woke up, Now released by Filmin, is a five-part series based on the play by Michel Marc Bouchard that is offered to the viewer as the best and most perfect compendium of its author’s visceral, energetic, euphoric and hallucinatory cinema. And, correspondingly, the movie ends (which is also a miniseries, we said) and everything ends. It could not be otherwise.

“I’m tired. I don’t feel the need to go on with this», he says, he takes a second and continues in the same tone that he has been displaying since the last Sundance festival he showed the first symptoms of exhaustion to the press. And he continues: «I don’t understand what’s the use of insisting on telling stories when everything around you is falling apart. Art is useless and dedicating yourself to the cinema, a waste of time… I think about what my work consists of and I see myself writing, shooting, editing, in the post-production process… And then traveling around the world talking about what I’ve shot, edited and post-produced… We act as if we had plenty of time And if there is something right now that we do not have, it is time ».

The words are surprising, but not that much. After all, if the work of this 34-year-old Canadian has been significant for anything, it has been precisely because of his agonizing, desperate, exaggerated and fervently melodramatic gesture. At just 19 years old, surprised the world and the Cannes Film Festival with a debut written, directed and starring him. I killed my mother (2009) burst in as if it were the last film imaginable and behind it came Laurence Anyways (2012), tom on the farm (2013), Mommy (2014), just the end of the world (2016), My life with John F. Donovan (2018) y Matthias & Maxime (2019). All, in their own way, a full stop with the poison of the family, the discovery of identity, the guilt of being a mother (and son) and the inconvenience of being born. It is cinema on the edge of itself that respects neither conventions nor norms and that reinvents itself with each step it takes.

The night Logan woke up It’s the same movie again, but with the volume button on everything remains. And something else even. «My obsession with the family and mother-child relationships is something that is impossible for me to reason with. We are nothing without family”he says in a break from his despair. He complains if he hears the word melodrama (“It sounds false and my cinema is not like that”), he turns in his chair if the voice of regret is mentioned next to his melodramatic resignation (“It is not a break, it is a cessation”). and he cries out against the world (and he does it melodramatically) as soon as he is asked about the world, like that in general. “It is a great disappointment to spend your life denouncing hate crimes against homosexuals and at the same time watch them grow… We thought that hatred of the different was a thing of the past and we were wrong… I don’t understand voting for someone whose message is to despise others for not being like him. Each of the sentences is pronounced at the very edge of breath. Exhausting the end of each sentence as if he himself and each of his words were placed on the edge of any abyss. That’s how he is and that’s how each of his films has been. And forever.

To situate ourselves, the miniseries that Filmin is now presenting tells the story of a family haunted by the past. Each chapter portrays each of its members. Some time ago, something happened that fractured them forever. Dolan shows the wounds and lets the blood flow. Nothing else. A beating of a homosexual seconded by a burning rainbow flag is the first image. The brutality of the sequence sets the tone. From the death of the matriarch backwards and as if it were a puzzle, the pieces gradually fit together in a narrative that moves with the same ease in thrillers as in melodramas, leaving room for laughter at times. hysterical force. The result is a prodigy of restlessness, nervousness and restlessness. Pure Dolan. The last of each of his last films from the age of 19 to 34.

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