laurence anyways (xavier dolan)

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Review // Laurence Anways

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  • Xavier Dolan

    anyways Laurence

  • Heads turn as the pounding, metallic beat of Fever Rays If I Had a Heart sounds. A tall brunette clad in an electric blue suit walks, her sensual strut shrouded in mist. We dont see her face. The sensual brunette in question is the eponymous Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) of Xavier Dolans Laurence Anyways. Dolans bold, strikingly beautiful third feature tells the tale of Laurence Alia, and his tumultuous relationship with his gender, his parents and the love of his life, Fred Belair (Suzanne Clment).

    Laurence Anyways is an ambitious, sprawling epic of a film; it is episodic in structure, set over a ten-year period spanning the late Eighties and early Nineties, and clocks in at a runtime of almost three hours. Dolan is absurdly confident in his ability to hold his audiences attention, and yet, Laurence, for all its smug self-satisfaction, works. Laurence is an innocuous professor, rapturously in love with eccentric redhead Fred. The two spend their free time making out in steamed-up cars, dancing to electro-pop and debating the merits of dark chocolate like a pair of lovestruck teenagers. That is, until Laurence admits a painful truth that has been plaguing him for nigh-on thirty years.

    Words... Simran HansDesign... Avalon Lyndon

  • Clment in particular is brilliant, and smouldering with lovelorn fury.

    fizzing with charisma

  • of Heartbeats. If Dolans previous work has been criticised for lack of substance, he more than makes up for it with Laurences heartstring- tugging high-octane drama. Laurence and Freds explosive on-off relationship is fascinating to watch; Clment in particular is brilliant, fizzing with charisma and smouldering with lovelorn fury, screaming in bitter indignation at an ignorant waitress in one memorable scene. Indeed, she picked up the Un Regard Certain Award for Best Actress at 2012s Cannes Film Festival for her performance.

    Laurence is a woman, trapped in the body of a man. What follows this revelation is a litany of misadventures as Laurence begins to live his life as a woman. Along the way, Laurence befriends an amusingly camp band of showgirls (and boys including one called Baby Rose), writes a book of poetry and tries to navigate his relationships with those closest to him. An emotional melodrama featuring a transgender woman and set against the political backdrop of the late Eighties is somewhat of a departure from the glossy, vapidness

  • What could be seen as stylish self-indulgence manifests itself onscreen as uninhibited creativity.

  • What could be seen as stylish self-indulgence manifests itself onscreen as uninhibited creativity.

  • Dolan though, is no stranger to the film festival circuit; Laurence screened in Cannes, Toronto and London this season, picking up the Queer Palm and Best Canadian Feature Film along the way. Dolan is establishing himself as one of contemporary cinemas most interesting young auteurs, Laurence being his most visually distinctive display of talent yet. Dolan luxuriates in heady, music video-style slow-motion, lavish costumes and loud, cleverly curated electro-pop. Items of clothing fall from the sky in slow-motion as Moderats A New Error thunders, an apocalyptic deluge of water floods Freds living room as she reads a letter through her

    tears, women twirl in jaw-dropping sequinned dresses beneath glittering disco balls. What could be seen as stylish self-indulgence manifests itself onscreen as uninhibited creativity. This dizzying creativity is never more apparent in Dolans wider body of work than in Laurence, the lengthy run-time really allowing Dolan the space to play. Yves Blangers flamboyant cinematography is cemented by the intense emotional core that lies at the heart of Dolans screenplay, resulting in something quite astonishing. Dolans masterful blend of style and substance is dazzling; somehow both raw and refined, Laurence Anyways is an immersive exercise in high art.