“The Night Laurier Gaudreault Wakes” by Xavier Dolan
Cultural objects are examined with free criticism and assumptions. Today, the first series of Xavier Dolan,
Night Laurier Gaudreault Awakecurrently broadcasting on Canal +:
This five-episode, approximately one-hour mini-series revolves around the night in 1991 – a night of horror, a night of secrecy – that defined and rotted the entire family’s existence. The series works on two temporalities – the first, the present, is about family gatherings around the mother. As is so often the case with Dolan, he is the central figure, towards whom all neuroses and traumas converge. He was, just like in his first film i killed my mother, interpreted by Anne Dorval, and she will die. She is a powerful and representative woman, a candidate for mayor, leading with an iron fist a large family that seems united and functional. At his bedside are his three sons: Julien, the eldest, who seems immaculate after his past as an addict, Denis, the nice guy who is a little crazy, and the youngest Elliot, played by Dolan, who is out of rehab. The arrival of a fourth child, Mireille, was uncertain, and for good reason, she’s been away from town for decades, and doesn’t speak to anyone anymore.
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Dolan was inspired by a play, traces of which can be found in this series focused heavily on a place, the mother’s bourgeois home and surroundings in Quebec, and on long, often overly passionate dialogues, exacerbated by a curse that seems to have fallen on the family, as in tragedy Greece. The choice of actors is undoubtedly decisive, and we salute each of them: Patrick Hivon plays the oldest, all violent, or Julie Le Breton plays Mireille, whose sister is gone. Therefore, we find everything that makes Dolan’s cinema, which can be both captivating and terrifying, a kind of emotional drive that, over time, can be both disturbing and exhausting. The problem is the way Dolan, confronted for the first time with a drawn form, finds himself forced to stretch this excess of pace, at the risk of him being frankly blunt. The final confrontation scenes look a bit similar, and show the mechanics: between two brothers, between a brother and a sister, between a mother and a brother, between a sister and another man, with everyone on Christmas Eve 91 , with everyone on that day. funeral, etc. However, and this is miraculously enough, the series compensates by regularly instilling cruelty and tears with a special kind of comedy for Dolan, which mellows out relationships and on which the singularity and authenticity of family ties is based. . This moment, for example, is when Mireille, a very somber character, tormented by self-destructive memories and urges, invites the pizza delivery boy to have dinner with the family at the house of her brother, the delivery boy she happens to have slept with. the day before.
Play on television
What’s amazing is that this tune permeates the very old form of classic soap operas, these chorus-like family stories, these secrets buried in metal boxes at the bottom of the garden, these telephone flashbacks. It’s like grandma’s TV – especially since the series opens right in an old lady’s living room, surrounded by old furniture, wallpaper, and knick-knacks because Dolan loves them so much. We’re on the verge of being nerdy, but it’s singular nerdy yet again, presumptuous kitsch that makes style. The problem, all the same, is that all this accumulated tension, exacerbated, almost confusing in a tragic form, leads to disappointing results considering the bets placed, and which reduces family myths, legends, to a kind of news, vaguely anchored in politics. You have to take a step back to think of it not as an object of interest but as a milestone propagated from the very beginning by Dolan through his films. It is interesting to note the role he gave himself, as the youngest son, whose physique was rendered selfless by his drug use and nervousness: greasy hair, skin covered in red sores. It was he who could not remember that famous night that Laurier Gaudreault awoke, the one who managed to traumatize him least of all other than through nightmares or risk taking. It is inside and outside, in the middle and on the fringes of drama. In this somewhat odd posture, on television, he embraces his obsession with cinema. After metaphorically killing his mother in his first film, he literally embalms her, and the circle is complete.
Transcription of Lucile Commeaux’s column