A scene from Xavier Dolan’s Grand Prix-winning film It’s Only the End of the World, which will screen at this year’s Sydney Film FestivalCredit: Shayne Laverdière, courtesy of SFF
At 27-years-old, Quebecois auteur Xavier Dolan is something of a Cannes anomaly.

Occupying a singular position as both a festival veteran and its always divisive enfant terrible, Dolan overnight claimed another prize during his fifth festival outing for his French-language ensemble drama It’s Only the End of the World, which will soon screen as one of 11 Cannes competition entries showing at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival

As the Grand Prix winner, Dolan came in runner-up to Ken Loach’s Palme D’or winning I, Daniel Blake, which claimed the festival’s top honour for its frank depiction of social welfare and class inequality. On accepting his prize, the 79-year-old British director issued an impassioned critique of the governing social, political and economic systems in a speech that also acknowledged the irony of accepting an award for his film under such glamorous circumstances.

“The world is at a dangerous point, with ‘austerity’ driven by the ideals of neo-liberalism that have brought us to near-catastrophe, that have brought hardship to many in Greece in the East and Portugal and Spain in the West and grotesque wealth to a few. There is the danger of despair that people from the far right take advantage.

“Some of us who are old remember what that was like. So we must say something else is possible, another world is possible and necessary.”
It’s Only the End of the World stars Gaspard Ulliel as a terminally-ill writer returning to his hometown to announce his imminent death to his family. Based on an adaptation of Jean-Luc Lagarce’s play Juste la fin du monde, Dolan’s film also stars Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel. 

For those of you playing along at home, Dolan’s third film, Laurence Anyways, was awarded the Queer Palm at Cannes in 2012, and his fifth film, Mommy, won the festival’s Jury Prize in 2014.

Dolan also recently directed the infamous video for Adele’s Hello, and his next film (his first in English) The Death and Life of John. F Donovan will star *deep breath* Kit Harrington, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Bella Thorne, Nicolas Hoult, Taylor Kitsch, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Michael Gambon, Thandie Newton and *exhale* Adele, amongst others.

Tickets for the End of the World’s two screenings as part of the Sydney Film Festival can be found here.

A word of warning: they’re selling fast.

Palme d’Or: I, Daniel Blake
Grand Prix: Xavier Dolan, It’s Only the End of the World
Jury Prize: Andrea Arnold, American Honey
Best Director: Cristian Mungiu (Graduation) and Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper)
Best Actress: Jaclyn Jose, Ma ‘Rosa
Best Actor: Shahab Hosseini, The Salesman
Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, The Salesman
Palme d’Honneur: Jean-Pierre Léaud
Caméra d’Or  (best first feature): Houda Benyamina, Divines
Short Film Palme d’Or: Timecode

Tile image: Shayne Laverdière
Cover image: Shayne Laverdière