DIR/WRI: Xavier Dolan • PRO: Xavier Dolan, Carole Mondello, Daniel Morin • DOP: Stéphanie Anne Weber Biron • Cast: Xavier Dolan, Monia Chokri and Niels Schneider
Heartbeats‘ 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 a couple of years ago, the 22-year-old Canadian actor-turned-director returns with an engaging, if somewhat shallow, 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 the Adonis-like Nicolas (Niels Scheider) who enters their lives. There’s no real surprises here and the audience is never under any illusions of what is unfolding, but the candy coloured coating makes for a tasty enough treat.
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 (annoying) 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.
Rated 16 (see IFCO websitefor details)
Heartbeats is released on 27th May 2011