Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

I Killed My Mother 2009

J’ai tué ma mère

Directed by Xavier Dolan

Actor/writer/director Xavier Dolan was 20 when he made this fiery, funny picture of a teenage boy and his single mother bound together by their intense dislike of each other. “A tour de force.” — Screendaily

Canada In French with English subtitles
100 minutes

Director, Producer, Screenplay


Stéphanie Weber-Biron


Hélène Girard

Production designer

Anette Belley

Costume designer

Nicole Pelletier



Nicholas S. L’Herbier


Anne Dorval (Chantale Lemming)
Xavier Dolan (Hubert Minel)
Suzanne Clément (Julie Cloutier)
François Arnaud (Antonin Rimbaud)
Patricia Tulasne (Hélène Rimbaud)
Niels Schneider (Éric)
Monique Spaziani (Denise, ‘Dédé’)


Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Toronto, Vancouver 2009; Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films 2010


Best Canadian Feature, Vancouver International Film Festival 2009


This year’s prodigy is undoubtedly Xavier Dolan, whose first feature, made before the child-actor-turned-auteur reached 20, has attracted endless hype since it became a Cannes sensation last year. But the hype is justified. It’s a fiery, funny picture of a teenage boy and his single mother bound together and defined by their intense dislike of each other. Teachers, our hero’s boyfriend and boyfriend’s totally preferable Bohemian mother are all drawn into the vortex. Superbly acted by the boy himself and actress Anne Dorval, Dolan’s crackling script strikes lightning bolts of recognition for audiences either side of the generation gap, while his energetic directorial style is wittily cribbed from Godard and Wong Kar-wai, ie the best. No mothers are actually killed. No sons either. — BG

“A stunning, semi-autobiographical tour de force… it is a film with the sting of shrewdly observed truth… Hubert (Dolan) is a petulant, floppy-haired adolescent who has grown to hate every single aspect of his mother’s life from the messy way she eats to the horrible fashion faux pas that constitute her wardrobe. He isn’t shy about telling her. Arguments become shouting matches with Hubert displaying the kind of uncontrollable rage that would have done the late Klaus Kinski proud. ‘We used to talk,’ murmurs his mother. ‘I was four and had no one else,’ he roars back at her… If I Killed My Mother was just a succession of vicious arguments it would quickly become tiresome. Dolan is only 20 but shows great maturity and assurance as a filmmaker in the way he captures both sides of this complex relationship.” — Allan Hunter, Screendaily

“French New Wave meets Noughties auteurs, for the YouTube generation.” — Ian Harris, Salient

“It shouldn't be funny. It shouldn't be moving. It's both” — David Larsen, NZ Listener