Special Presentations

It's Only the End of the World

Xavier Dolan

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Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, the new film from Quebecois wunderkind Xavier Dolan (Mommy) ropes in an all-star French cast (including Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux and Nathalie Baye) for its tempestuous tale about the fraught reunion of a fractured family.

Xavier Dolan, the most exciting contemporary voice in Canadian film, delivers yet another visionary work. Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, Juste la fin du monde is a magnificent, thunderous drama about home and familial roots.

Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) is a terminally ill writer who has come home after 12 years of absence to tell his family he is dying. It's the proverbial prodigal's return, except that Louis' family is not so ready to forgive him for his desertion. His arrival precipitates chaos. His mother (Nathalie Baye) has tried to keep her family together despite their struggles in the wake of Louis' departure, and his loud, tempestuous siblings Antoine and Suzanne (Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux) and introverted sister-in-law Catherine (Marion Cotillard) have their own crosses and grudges to bear.

The group commences deconstructing a life's worth of damaged family dynamics, and the gifted writer becomes a mostly silent observer who can't get a word in edgewise to share the news he came to tell. As they all strive to — for once — be honest with each other, they create an emotional huis clos that offers them the chance to heal the wounds and fill the void.

Juste la fin du monde is based on the play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, who was recognized as one of France's foremost modern playwrights only after his untimely death due to AIDS-related illness. Dolan gives the play a stunningly stylized adaptation, shooting almost entirely in intense close-ups. It's a bold aesthetic choice that gets to the heart of the characters' experience: their buried memories, their heavy sadness, and, ultimately, their profound love for each other.

MAGALI SIMARD

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