Thursday, December 29, 2011

Amours imaginaires

Xavier Dolan (center, above) is the French-Canadian boy-moviemaker whose second film, Amours imaginaires, received a special "youth award" at Cannes last year. I read several reviews after watching the DVD and they were all pretty bad.

The reviewers seemed to want more of a story and could certainly see no point in devoting two whole hours of their own busy lives to a romantic triangle where nobody ever scores. To tell the truth, I was happy enough with the shifting color values. But then style (all by itself) is often enough of a story for me. I am a simple person.

All the same, the movie had enough of a plot to make me curious about a question of influence. Nowhere in the articles I read or in the film's own endless rolling credits was there any mention of a short story by Tennessee Williams called Two on a Party (from a collection called Hard Candy, still currently in print though originally published in 1959). Two on a Party like Amours imaginaires features a pair of friends (gay man, straight woman) who operate as an uneasy team in pursuit of what they call "the lyric quarry" (meaning the beautiful young men they both hope to seduce). The disappointments of Marie and Francis on film so nearly resemble those of Cora and Billy in print that one cannot avoid suspecting Xavier Dolan of at least a passing familiarity with what Williams conceived and set down on paper fifty years earlier.