Cannes Review: Xavier Dolan's Superb Les Amours Imaginaires
by Alex Billington
May 16, 2010
Another film I was looking forward to seeing here in Cannes (after the trailer) was young Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan's newest lavish love story, Les Amours Imaginaires, or simply just Heartbeats in English. I'm not even sure how to explain the style of the film, since I could categorize it as hyper-stylized, but it was one of the most beautifully shot films at Cannes this year and one film that I will definitely not be forgetting anytime soon. Its a uniquely modern bit of cinema that I'm absolutely in love with and I can't even begin to think about it without listening to Dalida's "Bang, Bang" which is used almost as a theme song in the film.
As the writer, director, and star, Xavier Dolan presents a somewhat unusual love story about two friends, one female, one male, who both fall in love with the same guy, both attempting to woo him, but not to much success. Dolan is a gay filmmaker and loves to present that in his films, which makes for a very interesting cinematic experience. It's often times amusing to just watch two different people going after the same guy. The problem is that the story doesn't have much depth and it doesn't break norm. Dolan uses slow-mo and powerful songs to extended scenes and moments, but it causes the story drag on a bit more than it should.
Despite those minor criticisms, I'm in love with this film (and it's lead actress Monia Chokri) as much as I possibly can be, simply because I love Dolan's style and use of music as well as his very modern characters (and the superb performances that embody each of them). It's essentially a fairly simple and amusing love story wrapped in a much more visually stimulating package and it is entertaining to watch, despite a usual desire to discover more intellectual films here in Cannes. That said, this is one film that will remain on my mind after the fest is over. And to get a better idea of its style, watch the teaser we posted a few weeks ago.