Heartbeats (Les amours imaginaries) brought Friday’s proceedings to a close as the IFI French Festival headed into its final weekend. The film’s director Xavier Dolan is proving himself to be quite the prodigy. After winning over critics and audiences with his filmmaking debut J’ai tué ma mère last year, the 21-year-old Canadian actor-turned-director returns with an engaging tale of friendship, jealousy and sexual tension.
Heartbeats sets itself in the midst of a love triangle in which old friends Francis (Dolan) and Marie (superbly played by Monia Chokri) become involved in a battle to win the attention of Nicolas (Niels Scheider) who enters their lives.
Director Dolan is not afraid to flaunt the technical aspects of filmmaking and constructs hyper stylised scenes that employ OTT-coloured lighting, hypnotic slow motion and lingering close-ups alongside overstated manipulation of moods and explicit poetic imagery.
Dolan’s stylistic approach with a camera is matched by his use of music as he puts together a collection of uplifting Euro-pop tracks that sit alongside the melancholia of Bach and Wagner reflecting the film’s twin obsession with the importance of friendship and the unattainability of desire.
Heartbeats is a fresh energetic piece of filmmaking that promises much for the future of its young writer/director.
Earlier that day gave people a second chance to see 2 films that had already been screened during the festival – the powerful Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) and the witty and insightful The Names of Love ( Le nom des gens).