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Filmmaker Xavier Dolan has a real love-hate relationship with the Cannes Film Festival. From his first film “I Killed My Mother” getting a standing ovation after its premiere at the event to his last film “It’s Only the End of the World” getting booed, Dolan has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows of what the world’s most prestigious film festival can present. And that decidedly varied experience has led the young director to premiere his new film “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” at the Toronto International Film Festival.
It’s no secret that ‘John F. Donovan’ has been the subject of intense speculation over the last year or so, as Dolan attempted to get his newest, and by far biggest, film out to the public. First, there was the odd production process, with various starts and stops. Then, during the editing process, which Dolan admits took the better part of two years, the filmmaker cut A-lister Jessica Chastain completely from the film. And just recently, while the year’s biggest films slot their premieres at the various festivals, there were rumors that ‘John F. Donovan’ had behind-the-scenes issues that were preventing the film from being selected.
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Ultimately, however, the film premieres at TIFF, and according to Dolan, it’s the perfect festival for his star-studded, English-language debut. “Cannes has its own tiring way of making everything dramatic and extreme, positively or negatively,” says Dolan (via THR). “’John F. Donovan’ isn’t at all a film that should elicit that kind of radicalism, nor claims to be an A-list effort that should stand next to the likes of Competition directors.”
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