Director Xavier Dolan, at 27, the wunderkind of a Quebecois New Wave that includes Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), has yet to break out among Anglophone audiences. That will likely change this year.
In his five films, the former child actor has combined emotionally unleashed performances with brash visuals, a sensibility that calls to mind the exuberance of the original nouvelle vague. As it happens, Dolan shared Cannes’s 2014 Jury Prize for his devastating last film, Mommy, with none other than Jean-Luc Godard.
Dolan, who publicly feuded with Netflix over the formatting of his films, might have remained a festival fixture if Adele hadn’t tapped him to direct the music video for her chart-smashing hit “Hello.” But 2016 should prove an even more auspicious year: He has two features laden with A-list talent coming down the pipeline. First up is It’s Only the End of the World, adapted from a Jean-Luc Lagarce play and starring Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, and Léa Seydoux. Then comes his English-language debut, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, with three Oscar winners (Natalie Portman, Kathy Bates, and Susan Sarandon) and a rumored cameo by Adele. Dolan’s is a name to remember.