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2016 Cannes Critics’ Panel Day 9: Dolan Comes Out with “It’s the Only the End of the World”

With the exception of what I consider his best film to date, the Venice preemed Tom at the Farm, Xavier Dolan’s home away from home is the Croisette. Since 2009’s I Killed My Mother (Directors’ Fortnight) and the Un Certain Regard selected Heartbeats (2010) and Laurence Anyways (2012), the competition has included Dolan as a juror and he finally got to walk the red steps with the “happening” film of the moment and the most empassioned acceptance speech for the Jury Prize winning Mommy in 2014. Before setting into what will likely be in Cannes next year with The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, we have table manners family drama with an epic cast comprised of Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel and Marion Cotillard.

The most vexing and polarizing film of the comp, It’s the Only the End of the World (aka Juste la fin du monde) is either his most brilliant work to date or a complete dud (check out our chart for the wide range in grades) – depends as La Presse’s Marc-André Lussier suggests who you speak to. Matching Variety’s take that “Dolan has found a way to exasperate and exhaust his audience, but he has also achieved a completely unexpected catharsis at the end of an agonizing hour and a half,” our own Nicholas Bell considers this “shrill, contrived, and hysterical, watching these accomplished actors stomping around in this swamp of insincerity is like being forced to enjoy the sound of nails scraping chalkboard until Moby’s voice wakes us and we drown.” All this to say, like Mommy, this sixth feature film will not go unnoticed.

Cannes Film Review: ‘It’s Only the End of the World’

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Mungiu Graduation Cannes

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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