© Kool/Filmagentinnen

Sag nicht, wer du bist! (Tom at the Farm, Tom à la ferme)
Canada/France 2013

Opening 21 Aug 2014

Directed by: Xavier Dolan
Writing credits: Xavier Dolan, Michel Marc Bouchard
Principal actors: Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy, Evelyne Brochu, Manuel Tadros

Tom drives to the farm home of his deceased boyfriend Guillaume. He wishes to pay respects to Guillaume’s mother, Agathe. She lives alone with her remaining son, Francis. The visit is a surprise, since she has never heard of Tom. Guillaume had broken off communication when he left home in his teens, and Francis has painted a fantasy picture of this prodigal brother, i.e., concealed all clues to his gayness. In spite of the confusion, Tom settles down at the farm and for the next 95 minutes he suffers under the sadistic temperament of Francis. Tom realizes that the villagers avoid Francis, even at the funeral; sporadic attempts to leave the farm fail. Tom’s friend Sarah arrives and brings a bit of reality from the outside world.

We in Hamburg have had the unique opportunity to view Dolan’s first three films (I Killed My Mother, Heartbeats, and Laurence Anyways) at past Hamburg film festivals, almost as if Hamburg has been actively supporting his career. And why not? Considering that his first film came out in 2009 when he was only 20 and, now at age 25, his fifth film Mommy was in competition at the 2014 Cannes film festival and will show at this year’s 2014 Filmfest Hamburg. Dolan is definitely a director to watch. Hopefully he won’t crash at a young age because of the pressure.

Tom at the Farm differs from his first three films, which were about impossible love affairs. Here Dolan aimed for “tense and scary,” a psychological thriller. He says, “There’s a lot of loneliness.” The film manages with a small cast and scenes of wide-open fields of corn stalks (which are almost characters in their own right). Dolan (wearing a blond wig) effectively plays the lead – not surprising, considering his overall talent at anything he does. The ending is not so important; it’s the general mood that counts. I definitely recommend this to anyone who has been following Dolan’s career as well as to anyone who is curious about this amazing director from Quebec, Canada. (Becky Tan)

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