Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Heartbeats (2010)

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)
Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)

Genre: Drama
Director: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Xavier Dolan, Niels Schneider, Monia Chokri
Duration: 95 min.
Rating: 7.2/10

Francis and Marie are close friends. One day, during lunch, they meet Nicolas, a young man from the country who just arrived in town.  As one rendez-vous leads to another, whether real or imagined, all signs are bad.  Each of the two friends slides deeper into obsessive fantasies around the same object of desire.  The deeper they slide, the more their once cast-iron friendship begins to crack under the pressure of competing for the new kid on the block.


Heartbeats from Canadian director Xavier Dolan, premiered in the Un Certain Regard category at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.  It is also nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 36th Cesar Awards.  This is the second film in which he has written, directed and starred, quite an amazing accomplishment for a 21 year old.  

This one is a classic tale of a love triangle, but there is no love here, only delusions.  The main characters are all shallow, self absorbed, and come across as rather pathetic.  However it is the ultra cool style in which Dolan tells us their story that makes it well worth watching.  A style influenced in part by the films of the French New Wave, and even more so by Wong Kar Wai's masterpiece In The Mood For Love, evident in the long tracking slow motion sequences and repeating retro musical themes.  

Also, the film scores extra points with me for the inclusion of brilliant tracks by Fever Ray and The Knife (I wonder if the English title of the film is a reference to their song Heartbeats) in the soundtrack.  Along with a well placed cameo by French actor Louis Garrel, himself a veteran of several films where he plays a character involved a love triangle.  

But there is more to Heartbeats than simply being an homage to the director's many inspirations.  At various points of the film, Dolan inserts candid documentary style interviews from random people talking about their love lives.  This seems at first to be out of place and irrelevant, but in their brief screen time you get a sense that those characters and their stories are really more interesting than those of the actual protagonists.  A move that I believe gives us the perspective to view Marie and Francis' obsession with Nicolas in a different light.

Heartbeats is a very good film from an equally promising and talented young filmmaker.  One who I will be definitely keeping an eye out for in the future.   

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)

Heartbeats / Les amours imaginaires (2010)


Das Auto! said...

I'll probably watch it just cause the director's Canadian. I feel obligated for sme reasons.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks, and welcome!

Virginie Lavallée B said...

HO OUI! I LOVE this movie, I do have a partie pris since Dolan is from Montreal just like me, but this movie makes my heart swell up just like I'm a teenager again! I loved the photography and costumes a lot too, and am excited for Dolan's next movie, which will supposedly show a lot more of Louis Garel!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Hey Mathilda, even though you sound like a shill, thanks for posting this, it is a fantastic idea.

blahblahblahtoby said...

this played at the recent perth international arts festival/outdoor cinema season and was easily the highlight for me. being a sucker for early godard and all things wai this would make sense. i loved the hipsters and the costumes but it was the direction that stole my heart.

great review by the way, i'm happy to have found your blog this evening. and i wish i'd seen the sagan movie when i had the chance.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I'm glad you liked it too.  Thanks for reading and commenting.

Adalmin said...

I actually like the idea of the vignettes. A lot of romantic/drama movies get so cloying because they have extreme tunnel-vision about their own problems, so adding contrast like that is a great concept.

Jack L said...

very good review!
This doesn't seem like a film I would enjoy but I'm willing to give it a try, If I come across it I'll be sure to watch it.
I like your blog very much, I'm glad I found it and I look forward to reading your future reviews.

Oh and thanks for following my blog, I really appreciate it!

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