Xavier Dolan retires: "Art is useless, and devoting time to cinema is a waste of time"

Xavier Dolan retires: “Art is useless, and devoting time to cinema is a waste of time”

“I no longer have the desire or the strength, almost no one sees what I’m doing,” laments the Quebec director.

At the beginning of the year, Xavier Dolan confided to Première his desire to move away from the cinema. “I don’t want to do it, write it, produce it, promote it. To carry a project at arm’s length for two years (…) calculate what I’m going to wear to a premiere, what I’m going to say in an interview, how I’m going to dress for a cover… I don’t want to anymore. It no longer interests me.

Xavier Dolan goes to the series: “Cinema no longer interests me”

The Quebec filmmaker then presented his first TV series, The night Laurier Gaudreault woke up, a project in which he was heavily invested, directing, writing and editing the 5 episodes, while playing an important role on screen. “With this series, I gave it my all, in passion and intensity. It dried me out a bit“, explained to us the director of Just the end of the world.

Six months later, Xavier Dolan has not rediscovered the taste for the 7th art, far from it. While his series was launched in Spain, he gave a few interviews to the local press, and what might have looked like a passing dissatisfaction now appears as a total rejection of cinema and everything that goes with it. At only 34 years old, the prodigy who presented his very first feature film, I killed my motherin 2009 at the Cannes Film Festival, at just 20 years old, said he was totally disillusioned and announced his retirement:

“I renounce the cinema and the realization”, he loose in the columns of El Pais. “I no longer have the desire or the strength to invest myself two years in a project so that then almost no one sees it. I put too much passion into it to suffer these disappointments. It leads me to wonder if my cinema is bad when I know it’s not.”

The Night Laurier Gaudreault Woke Up: Xavier Dolan’s Series is a Success (review)

In another interview with El Mundo, we even understand that Dolan has come to vomit cinema, and creation in general. Caught up by reality and dismayed by the state of the world (he fears a civil war and deplores the rise of homophobia), he no longer wants to hear about fiction:

“I don’t understand the point of striving to tell stories while the world is collapsing around us. Art is useless, and devoting time to filmmaking is a waste of time. I reflect on what is my work and I see myself writing, shooting, editing, in the process of post-production… Then I travel around the world to tell what I shot, edited and post-produced… We act like we have the time, but if there’s one thing we don’t have, it’s time.”

As he explained to FirstDolan was touched by the failure of his two previous films (My life with John F. Donovan And Matthias and Maxime), but this first experience on the small screen seemed to have opened up new perspectives (“If it is, I am less a director of films than a showrunner“) Except that The night Laurier Gaudreault woke up (available in France on Canal Plus) did not have the expected impact either, despite its real quality.

Xavier Dolan will perhaps find his faith again, in a few months or a few years, like all those artists who retire and then come back once they have recharged their batteries. But for now, he has other concerns:I will build a house where I will take refuge with my friends and I will watch the world burn“.

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