Xavier Dolan urges Québecers to “Go Vote” in bilingual web videos
If he were just a normal gay celebrity, we would feel embarrassed by reporting on his every syllable and gesture, but filmmaker Xavier Dolan has become so much more since the Printemps Érable. Today, Dolan issued a two-part rallying cry for Tuesday’s election that we just couldn’t resist sharing: “The question is rather ‘why NOT vote?’,” says one of Dolan’s handsome talking heads in videos released today on Vimeo entitled “ALLEZ VOTER GO VOTE”…
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“On September 4th, 2012, we have to exercise our right as the electorate, and by doing so, honor one of the very few obligations that is the demand of citizenship. Make it count,” reads the by-line of Xavier Dolan’s “ALLEZ VOTER GO VOTE” videos, loaded to Vimeo today. Using the monicker Sons of Manual Dolan’s two videos show a range of hot French boys, Québécois personalities, friends of Dolan’s (like actor buddy and Borgias star François Arnaud), and even what appear to be passersby, some even in English, urging the viewer to cast their ballot, no matter what they may think about politics. The videos come just five days before the high-octane Québec election which sees the incumbent Liberals pitted against the simplistic sloganeering of the CAQ and eery xenophobia of the Parti Québécois – with the lefty-soveriegntist Québec Solidaire party in a distant forth place.
“If you don’t vote, then you can’t complain for the next four years,” one of the interviewees says in the four and a half minute first video. “Dying is easy, it’s living that’s hard,” says renowned comic actor Marc Labrèche. “Not going to vote may be the ultimate act of cowardice,” says one bespectacled older man. Anne Dorval, who played Dolan’s mother in his break-out J’ai tué ma mère, says poetically that “when we keep hope, we are free and we are alive; when we lose hope, we cease to live and we’re snuffed out.”
The clips are rounded out by archival footage of Québec political leaders, from Duplessis to Robert Bourrassa and Lucien Bouchard, and a nod to patriotism in the form of a fluttering fleur de lys Québec flag with sentimental piano background music. With a combination of what appears to be hand-held camera, Skype video, and DIY footage, the second “half” of the two-video agit-prop piece includes Queer Rights author Peter Knegt, and Dolan muse Monia Chokri, who evokes the importance of voting, even when her family in Tunisia knew their vote would be ignored under the now-fallen ben Ali dictatorship. She is joined by fellow actress Évelyne Brochu and former student strike spokesman (now PQ candidate) Léo Bureau-Blouin.
“Apathy has never been a solution, and action has always been a solution,” says one cutie with a serious sense of history, while another issues the ironic threat “no vote, no Beyoncé… for four whole years.” No matter what you thought of his Laurence Anyways transgender romance, Dolan has been a clarion voice in the polemic around artist support for the student strike this year, and made international headlines for wearing the emblematic red squares at his latest feature’s Cannes Festival première.
Banner photo courtesy of Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm