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Laurence Anyways

Director • Xavier Dolan

Country • Canada

Year • 2012

Duration • 168 min

Rating • MA

Language • French with English subtitles

This is relationship as grand orchestration, amour fou at its most exhausting and exhilarating.

“No-one shoots beautiful, ‘troubled’ people with great hair (in slow-motion, to electronica) quite like Xavier Dolan. Set in 1990s Montreal, this is a decade-long gender bending Almodovarian melodrama of identity confusion and doomed love. They are a brilliant, maddening couple and capture the crippling, obsessive nature of self-exploration and needy love.” – Eat Sleep Live Film

The third film in Dolan’s ‘impossible love’ trilogy moves into epic territory. Fred (Suzanne Clément) and Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) are the kind of bohèmes that you would love to have on speed dial. They’re funny, intelligent and warm. He’s a writer and teacher, she works in film. She’s fiery and impulsive, he is reserved and wise. On his thirty-fifth birthday, Laurence drops a bombshell: he is a woman living in a man’s body. The film follows the many ripples of this revelation, as Laurence takes steps to live his life honestly, and Fred attempts to exist alongside this new reality.

Dolan has been vocal about expressing that this is not a ‘queer’ film, nor a ‘transgender’ film, it’s a love story, in the deepest, most impossible sense. Intense, sensitive and raw, it has all the emotive and stylistic traces of his first two films, but its focus is wide, wide lens. An opulent epic covering ten years, it’s also twice as long as his previous works – but never feels it. Those 168 minutes fly by. There are visual flourishes (a wiiild party scene, his trademark slow-mo) and diversions (he sends Laurence into the campiest mad-hatter’s tea party) but all are essential to the grand force of the story. With a soundtrack to die for (Kim Carnes, Moderat, The Cure, Visage) and art direction saturated in colour, Laurence Anyways is a bold statement from an emerging auteur.

At just 24 years-old Xavier Dolan already has three stunning films to his name: I Killed My Mother (2009), Heartbeats (2010) and Laurence Anyways (2012). Dolan has called these three films his ‘impossible love’ trilogy. We’re screening them all across one week. See I Killed My Mother on Monday 2 September, Heartbeats on Tuesday 3 September and Laurence Anyways on Wednesday 4 September or dive right in to our Day of Dolan on Sunday 8 September, when we present all three films in one melodramatic fell swoop.

If you wish to purchase a ticket to the entire trilogy please use this link, which gets you all three films for $40. Note you are not required to see all three films on Sunday 8 September (but you really should). Do some during the week, some on the weekend – whatever you like. You can email us to swap into weekday sessions once you’ve purchased the ticket. Shebeen has all the food and watering facilities you’ll require.

Video art in the cinema. This week we feature Bulgarian artist Neno Belchev‘s A Meditation on Shiva, Yama and Lenin. Presented in collaboration with Channels — The Australian Video Art Festival, happening 18–21 September 2013.

“Dolan delivers his trademark pleasures with assurance: complex mothers, New Romantic songs and unrelenting gorgeousness”

–Time Out Hong Kong

“Grand in scope and rich in emotion, Laurence plays as a rebuttal to the accusations of style-over-substance triviality that dogged Dolan’s first two features. And yet style remains paramount, of course: visually the film puts barely a foot wrong during the 159 minutes that separate its exquisite matte black title card from its searing final image.”

–Little White Lies