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Interview Jean-Michel Blais Matthias & Maxime

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Interview: Composer Jean-Michel Blais – Matthias & Maxime

John Londono

Interview: Composer Jean-Michel Blais – Matthias & Maxime

Deemed as a return to his indie filmmaking roots, Xavier Dolan‘s film character sets will be forever tied to soundtracks that lyrically express a certain emancipation, a dissonance or what we could call a state of disavowed state of being. With tracks by Montreal indie rock bands Half Moon Run and Arcade Fire in the line-up, for Matthias & Maxime, Dolan collaborated with another local in classical pianist Jean-Michel Blais. In a film score that adds a degree of profundity to the (re)surfacing of deeply submerged truths in a character study that focalizes on the complex nature of friendship when repressed attraction is present; Blais cut his teeth in 2016 with top ten list mention and Grammy nom to com and has already become an influential modern composer with just two studio albums in. Offering just over a half dozen compositions for the film, this is his debut work in film.

Shortly after the world premiere of Dolan’s eighth feature film I sat down with Blais to discuss his beginnings, how the score informs the text about the protagonist’s frame of being/state of being and the unorthodox collaborative process with Dolan (compositions were created and used during production and not just in post). Shortly after this sit-down, Blais was the recipient of an honourable mention from Cannes Soundtrack for his music, essentially placing second after Alberto Iglesias’ work for Almodovar’s Pain and Glory.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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