Associate Professor Loïc Bourdeau (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) presents The HRC/SLLL Lecture in Transnational Cinema
Mobilizing Queer Desire and Transnational Quebec in Xavier Dolan’s Matthias & Maxime.
Watch the film first:
"Matthias & Maxime" can be veiwed for free by ANU users here
Xavier Dolan has become somewhat of a fixture in Quebec cinema (and queer studies) since his critically acclaimed debut feature J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother) (2009) and subsequent seven films (almost one per year) that have also encountered much success in Quebec, France, and in the festival circuit.
From Laurence Anyways (2012) to Mommy (2014) and from directing British singer Adele’s most-watched music videos (“Hello,” 2015 and “Easy on Me,” 2021) to modeling for French luxury brand Louis Vuitton, Dolan has consistently proven to have a clear voice, which he is not afraid to use. At once praised and harshly criticized, he has undoubtedly made his mark on the Quebec cinematic landscape.
This presentation focuses on his latest production, Matthias & Maxime (2019). Shot in Montreal and the Laurentides region of Quebec the film tells the story of two best friends—Matthias (Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas) and Maxime (Xavier Dolan)—in their late twenties who are shaken up by a romantic kiss they exchange to help their friend’s sister with her film assignment. Drawing on Denys Arcand’s famous 1986 The Decline of the American Empire and making references to Pouliot, Hitchcock, Nolan, or Cameron, Matthias & Maxime explores queer desire and the violence of silence.
On the one hand, this talk looks at Dolan’s framing (and queering) of desire and questioning of binary oppositions and heteronormativity. On the other, I show the ways in which Dolan reflects on Quebec’s singular status in North America, how he develops a cinematic world that draws on mainstream culture, social debates, and millennial angst, and how his work (and Quebec cinema) is constantly inserted, influenced, and effectively contributes to today’s global flows of culture.
Loic Bourdeau Board of Regents Endowed Associate Professor of Francophone Studies, Graduate Coordinator, University of Louisiana at Lafayette.