Opening 3 Feb 2011
Hubert lives with his hard-working, well-meaning, divorced mother. She has no easy life trying to do well by him, as his mood swings from sullen to cooperative to sneaky to loving to total resistance. In other words, he’s sixteen and a typical teenager trying to find himself and, in this case, his sexual orientation.
This French-Canadian film works in so many ways: it is absolutely true to life. We recognize our own youth and our own children. The lead actor is handsome, 20-year-old, Canadian Xavier Dolan who does petulance to perfection. Not only does Dolan star, but he is also the writer, director and producer, and has drawn on his own experiences to make the story authentic. This film won three prizes, including best first film, at the 2009 film festival in Cannes. I originally saw it the same year at the Filmfest Hamburg. Sometimes for a film it’s a long haul to the mainstream in Hamburg – in this case 18 months, but it’s worth the wait. Dolan showed huge promise with this film and returned to the 2010 Filmfest Hamburg with his second film Heartbeats. (Becky Tan)