Last year in Cannes I remember seeing a youngish filmmaker by the name of Xavier Dolan zipping around town, a small but growing entourage in tow. Well, it really wasn’t an entourage, it was more like a handler. Dolan, a filmmaker from Quebec who appeared in a number of commercials there and submitted his first film, “I killed my mother,” to Canada’s national film fund at the age of 17, was in town to present “Heartbeats,” originally titled “Les amours imaginaires,” as part of the festival’s Un Certain Regard program. Part gleaming farce, part-tough-minded exploration of the inherent insanity of love and desire, “Heartbeats” centers on two close friends: Francis (Dolan) and Marie (Monia Chokri). At a dinner party one evening they meet Nicolas (Niels Schneider), a striking young man from the country who has just recently arrived in town. His boyish charm and classical good looks create an irresistible mystique that neither of the two friends can shake.
The threesome begins to spend more and more time together. But the more intimate they get, the more remote and unattainable Nico becomes, sending Francis and Marie’s comic obsession into overdrive. And as their hunger for Nicolas’ affections grow, the more their once cast-iron friendship begins to crack and shift to rivalry.
Xavier Dolan’s directorial follow-up to “mother” (in which he also starred alongside Niels Schneider), “Heartbeats” is a study of the descent into poetically passionate love and the complexities of young human emotions.
The film will be released by IFC Films theatrically on February 25th in New York and March 4th in Los Angeles. You can view a clip from the film here.