The details have been popping up about the return of Adele for the past few months, the internet waiting with baited breath especially in the past week or so as the new single “Hello” has been teased. But the thing that stopped me in my tracks, slipped into reports without fanfare, is the man behind the director’s chair for the video: Xavier Dolan.
Yes, we the fans of the singer are ravenous for the album to arrive, but I’m equally excited for the arrival of the director into as many eyeballs as possible.
Right? And not to take this too far, it’s still just a music video, albeit one that will be watched repeatedly by millions of fans. But Dolan a match made in heaven for Adele his swooning expressionism a perfect equal to the singer’s emotional reach. Both are fans of the big emotions on an intimate canvas and couldn’t be more suited to one another’s gifts.
Dolan has also displayed in his films a deep understanding of the connective tissue between music and film, especially adept in the ways music can convey directorial point of view. If you’ve already heard of Dolan, or his penchant for music in his films, it’s likely for the “Wonderwall” sequence of his most-recent film Mommy. Trust me, it’s a doozy (the film itself being the one that’s stayed with me most in the year since seeing it), but avoid watching YouTube clips, the scene lacks impact without context and looks like the stunt that his critics have accused of him.
It’s also fascinating to see Dolan giving the full treatment to something like this. His typical tropes are on full display here: gorgeous but affrontary closeups, a worshipful gaze on the woman at the center, and a fascination with unexpected aspect ratios – this was apparently shot in IMAX.
Make no mistake, this is a major artist taking major creative risks and he’s a name you’ll be hearing for some time, next taking on larger names like Marion Cotillard and Jessica Chastain in coming films. You can see his earliest films on Netflix, including Laurence Anyways which displays some more musically-inclined sequences evocatively reminiscent of something from MTV2 (I mean that as a compliment). His newest efforts Tom at the Farm and the aforementioned and stunning Mommy are available on iTunes.