Filmmaker Xavier Dolan is over people labeling his work “gay” just because he identifies as gay and his films often portray LGBTQ characters.
During a press conference for his new film Mathias & Maxime, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this week, the 30-year-old said he objects to people labeling the project a “gay film.”
“This film is not ‘gay,'” he said. “It’s life.”
Dolan continued: “We never talk about heterosexual films. ‘Oh, I saw this great heterosexual love story!’ For me, it’s not a story of homosexuality or gay love. Ultimately, I don’t think that the two protagonists are aware that it is gay love. It’s love.”
Mathias & Maxime was written, directed, produced, and stars Dolan, alongside actor Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas.
The story centers around Matthias (Freitas) and Maxime (Dolan), two lifelong friends whose relationship is tested when they share a kiss, which leads to them both questioning their sexual identities.
The film was shot in Quebec in 2018 and had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday.
Watch a scene from the film below.
I get what this filmmaker is trying to say, but it’s a basic social and cultural fact that people don’t talk about “heterosexual” anything, unless making an explicit contrast, because heterosexuality is normalized as the standard. It’s this way with anything that is normalized, whether it’s race, gender, sexuality and sexual orientation, class, disability status, etc.; as the norm it usually doesn’t need to be mentioned. Is this filmmaker that clueless?
Clueless they certainly are! Next time we have a gay pride parade or festival, it should just be called a pride parade or festival because gay is no longer needed. Their logic just doesn’t make sense.
To mirror the previous comment… Nobody talks about “Heterosexual Films” because every film is assumed to be heterosexual
It’s why Diet Coke is called Diet Coke. If you just say Coke it’s assumed it’s the full sugar version.
“We” never talk about hetero anything because everything else is hetero. Just like we say something is underwater, but we don’t say everything else is “under the air”…because everything else is. There is an assumption that something is like everything else unless you specify.
I get not wanting to label his film as a ‘gay film’ but lets be honest, are you also not going to label it as a drama, love story, comedy, etc.? Sounds to me like he doesn’t want the gay community to be interested in it.
It is known as the default position. It usually the way something just is. Defaults aren’t bad they just make life easier.
That being said. I noticed that in the late 80’s and 90’s French films with gay leads or even gay romance weren’t marketed as gay film anywhere but in the US, and sometimes Canada.
Jon in Canada
Xavier, j’aime vraiment votre travail et vous êtes un artiste brillant. cependant, votre insistance sur vos films, ou sur n’importe quel film LGBTQ d’ailleurs, ne devrait pas être étiquetée gay, est plus qu’un peu naïf et nourrit en réalité l’idée que “nous sommes arrivés”; nous n’avons pas.
Une fois que nous sommes “arrivés”, nous pouvons avoir cette discussion, mais tant que la société hétéro continue de nier les droits fondamentaux de la personne humaine (l’égalité du mariage était grande, mais elle n’a pas supprimé toutes les autres conneries que les LGBTQ doivent affronter) étiqueter un film comme gay, lesbien, bi, trans, etc., est un message important.
Honnêtement, quand j’entends ce genre de protestation, j’ai bien peur que cela et les jeunes queers ne réalisent pas qu’il reste encore beaucoup à faire.
And for my English speaking friends:
Xavier, I truly love your work and you are a brilliant artist; however, your insistence on your films, or any LGBTQ film for that matter, shouldn’t be labelled gay is more than a little naive and actually feeds into the idea that “we’ve arrived”; we haven’t.
When we have “arrived”, then we can have this discussion, but so long as straight society continues to deny basic human rights (marriage equality was great, but it didn’t remove all the other bullshit LGBTQ people have to deal with), labeling a film as a gay, lesbian, bi, trans, etc., is important messaging.
Honestly, when I hear this kind of protestation, I fear this and younger queers don’t realize how much more there is to still do.
À quoi s’attendre de plus, Jon in Canada, d’un enfant-roi à qui on n’a jamais dit “non” et qui dénigre tous ceux qui n’aiment pas son oeuvre en les traitant d’incultes.
People are jealous of him, his youth, his beauty, his talent.
Tom at the Farm is a favorite, is creepy and erotic.
Really? That’s what you’re trying?
Please, by all means, point out any comments here that had no basis in reality and were just said out of “Jealousy”.
Are you him, or perhaps a creepily obsessed fan?
Man About Town
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film or clip where the subtitles are in the same language as the dialog!
Inventive attempt to get people to watch his “made in French Canada” film.
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