Xavier Dolan

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Xavier Dolan in 2016.

Xavier Dolan-Tadros (born 20 March 1989) is a Canadian filmmaker, actor, and costume designer.


  • Yes, I came from nowhere. All my life, I heard 'Stop daydreaming,' Get over yourself,' 'You'll never get there,' 'Aim lower, 'You'll hurt yourself,' from teachers, family, and friends.
  • I've been a fan from the first hour. Kate Winslet has inspired me to become an actor, a director, a costume designer ... she's helped me to grow as an artist and as a human being in a way that she will never know. When I saw her in Titanic, I was 8 years old. I saw the film and I was like, "Oooh, look at that." Big ideas, ambition, greater than life. It showed me that there were no limits to the things you could dream. I couldn't believe the production design. Do you know the accuracy and the rigor of the research James Cameron did for it? Down to the doorknobs. The accuracy of every detail is nothing short of autistic, and it's very impressive. But from the age of 8 to 16, Kate Winslet was the spokesperson of my teenage-hood without ever knowing it. She's been the face of my wildest artistic dreams. The way she walked, the way she talked ... she's defined the person that I am in so many aspects. And I know that it's extremely weird to be talking about this. Some artists do that to you. For me, it was her.
  • I began as an actor and I will end as one. I’m not going to direct movies my whole life. It’s just too much. I want to write myself parts as generous as Anne Dorval's, or the kid in Mommy or Antoine in It's Only the End of the World! I’ve benched myself for so long. But I can’t seem to give myself these roles. People would call me ‘narcissistic’ again. That's their favourite word for me. But I want to do that in the future. Acting is a passion for me, in all its possible forms. It’s a passion, really a passion!
  • It is impossible, insane, and so painful to even think of writing these words. Your discreet laughter, your watchful eye. Your scar. Your talent. Your listening. Your whispers, your kindness. All the features of your person were in fact born of a sparkling sweetness. It is your whole being that has transformed my life, a being that I loved deeply, and that I will always love. I can’t say anything else, I’m exhausted, stunned by your departure.
  • Nathalie Lévy: You directed Gaspard Ulliel in It's Only the End of the World, and you wrote an intense message after the news of his death...
    Xavier Dolan: It was really his light... the allure he had... He was someone who... I still can't talk about him... And I still can't accept... I dream of him at night... very often. Sometimes those dreams look cruel... or... hyper realistic. Some look so real... and when I wake up it's so painful.
    Nathalie Lévy: What was so singular about Gaspard?
    Xavier Dolan: I saw lots of interviews with Gaspard when he died. And he was someone who loved words... and loved to think. Sometimes he looked up at the sky, before speaking. And yet all of his words were relevant, measured, cultivated... He was a literate man, and curious. He spoke well. And he spoke when he had to speak.
  • Xavier Dolan: I think of him all the time, actually... I think... It's hard to conceive it.. It takes a long time to accept this situation... to accept his departure... It's inconceivable... I often dream of him... I think of his family... his son... I think of his talent, his beauty... And I will talk about him tonight.
    Host: That's why you're here, actually. Beyond your César nomination...
    Xavier Dolan: Yes... honestly. This nomination is a recognition that I really appreciate, obviously, but it's not the first reason I'm here. I really wanted to say some things about Gaspard... Not because I have the right to do it, but because I feel the need to do it. I knew him professionally and intimately, as well. [Holding back tears] I hope tonight I'll be able to control myself better than now. But... I really feel the need to say personally how much I loved him and why.

Tribute to Gaspard Ulliel at the 47th César Awards ceremony (February 2022)[edit]

Xavier Dolan's tribute to Gaspard Ulliel at the 47th César Awards ceremony in the form of a letter addressed to Ulliel's mother. Merci Xavier Dolan pour cet hommage à Gaspard Ulliel 🤍 #César2022. Twitter (25 February 2022).
  • Tonight I wanted to pay a tribute to my friend, to our friend, Gaspard. I have chosen to do so in the form of a letter, which is as follows:
  • Madame, I am addressing this letter to you without even knowing you, without knowing you well. Outside, behind my bedroom window in the woods where I have taken refuge, the snow twirls in the air. It is transfigured by the light of the sun and the wind persists in beating it into loose snow. Big conifers rise in front of me, covered with a very heavy white deposit. Winter is calm, all of a sudden, after a brutal start.
  • I knew that in coming here to seek out isolation, I was going to start thinking and writing about Gaspard, I had already written for Gaspard before, I had written to Gaspard, but I had not written about Gaspard. And other than for an article, an interview or a prize, believe me that I had no intention to do so.
  • But I didn’t come here to speak about the career of Gaspard Ulliel — I could recount the list of brilliant exploits and feats, of starry passages among the stars of the Riviera, of the industry. But what effect could these things have on the gaping wound of his departure?
  • I couldn't help but think he would have hated this kind of elegy. He would have perceived a lack of elegance in this glorification. And he was very elegant. Because his career speaks for itself. Through the articles that praise him and all the roles that survive him. His talent, we still have it. And no one can take that away from us. It's the privilege of being famous and an actor of his light to be able to count on art to fade us into eternity while other important bereavements for some remain unknown to all or become so quickly evanescent. It's a whole world that cried for Gaspard... it's a whole world that still mourns him.
  • Gaspard was often the one who listens and does not speak. We have often talked about his discretion or his gentleness, of the mystery that he did not intentionally cultivate. But little has been said about his eloquence. I've heard him talk so much about his love for his profession. About life, the beautiful things, in a neat language that celebrates the musicality, the scarcity of words while many were making a point to speak first, Gaspard was distilling from a thought, a more accomplished, more chiseled look. A bit like the one he poses at the end of Saint Laurent from his friend Bertrand Bonello, in this moment when he's eyeing the camera and lays his eyes precisely on the situation that is life and our souls as well. He seems to have understood something that has possibly escaped us all.
  • I chose to address this letter to you, Madame, because I did not know other than by telling you how much I admired and loved him. I didn't know how to pay him a real tribute. I think he would have liked to know that I wrote this letter while listening to a piece by Olafur Arnalds entitled "Tree"... "L'arbre". He would have listened to it. Even better. We would have listened to it together, without excluding all those who loved him. His family, it seemed natural to me to write to you this evening. To you, whom I immediately thought of that morning. Because a mother's love is stronger than anything. I believe it. Stronger than life. Stronger than art itself. And certainly stronger than death.

Quotes about Xavier Dolan[edit]

  • Xavier and I are like soul mates. He wants to create a very intense and close-knit atmosphere on the set, and he has a very unique way of working. He will be talking to you while you’re shooting a scene or he will be playing music in the background to take you where he wants you to go with your performance.
  • He's a very singular, unique and rare director. He loves actors, he loves acting, and also he has something that cannot really be explained. He has more than a style, he writes his cinema – not like writing it down – but he has a very special grammar in his movies. This is something that you cannot explain; he's a prodigy who lives for cinema. He has a passion for movies and this art form is so deep, so wide. The way he works with actors is very unique too. I used this image before talking about him, but it’s really what I feel; he’s like a sculptor or a painter. When we are on set he is with us, he talks to us while we are shooting, he's part of the family, he's part of everything he does – of course the director is part of every little thing in the movie, but he breathes like his films – so his film, and his films, breathe like him.

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