Aesthetics of Defiance : Queer Subjectivity in the Films of Xavier Dolan

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Filmvetenskap

Abstract: This master's thesis is an investigation into Xavier Dolan's depictions of queer and non-normative characters. Through close analyses of the director's first five films, this study identifies Dolan's recurring stylistics and narrative techniques, and how they relate to his cinematic representation of individuals who do not conform to society's norms. The question of how queer subjectivity is presented to the spectator of the films guides the study, which outlines different kinds of subjective images and ways of expressing the inner worlds of the protagonists. As one of the first extensive academic studies of Dolan in English, the thesis carries out a dialogue with the few existing scholarly sources on the filmmaker, while also employing theories put forward by Deleuze, Pasolini, Bonitzer and Foucault, among others. Whereas previous writings on Dolan have focused almost entirely on national aspects of his work – interpreting the films as typically Québécois – this study considers the filmmaker from an international perspective. Although being an auteur study, the thesis highlights current issues of queer self-representation and the voices of the marginalized, proposing that Dolan's work offers non-normative alternatives to heteronormative narrative structures, patriarchal storytelling conventions and traditional family constellations.

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