Cannes Film Festival 2012: Gender-bending film Laurence Anyways raises questions

Would YOU stay with your man if he started dressing as a woman Gender-bending film that wowed Cannes ignites debate



14:29 GMT, 22 May 2012

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French actor Melvil Poupard as cross dresser Laurence

French actor Melvil Poupard as cross dresser Laurence

A controversial film exploring gender, identity and love has made an impression at Cannes.

Directed by Xavier Dolan, Laurence Anyways tells the story of a man who starts cross-dressing, and the impact his decision has on his doting girlfriend.

As the drama unfolds viewers are forced to imagine their own reaction to the issues raised.

Qubcois filmmaker Dolan, 23, revealed that the film, set in Montral during the 1990s, was inspired by a true story.

'A crew member on my first film I Killed My Mother once told me about her boyfriend.

'She said they were in a restaurant, and he told her, “I want to become a woman. Will you stay with me”

'I was breath-taken, and immediately started typing the film in my mind. When I got home, I wrote 30 pages,' he told France 24.

French actor Melvil Poupard stars as Laurence while Canadian actress Suzanne Clement plays his confused girlfriend, Frederique – nicknamed Fred.

Describing Dolan's directing style actress Clement said: 'He wants you to be better. He wants you to have scenes that are going to challenge you, so you’re going to ask more of him also.

'He’s passionate. It seems like he has no fear.'

In one scene, following Laurence's revelation that he wants be a woman, Fred asks:'You'd be happier Things will be better'

Thought-provoking: Laurence tells Fred that he would like to be a woman

Thought-provoking: Laurence tells Fred that he would like to be a woman

Later she angrily exclaims: 'Have you ever bought a wig for your man'

Dolan attracted international attention with his first film J'ai tu ma mre (I Killed My Mother).

It went on to win three awards from the Director's Fortnight program at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Laurence Anyways was screened at Cannes' official sidebar competition Un Certain Regard.

Dolan says he would one day like to work with Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Alec Baldwin, or Glenn Close.