“In the 90′s I lived with my mother in suburban Montreal. At school, I was a child star, privileged to miss classes to act in a commercial or a film every once and a while. From the perspective of my peers, I was in the show business. The truth was that my relationship to cinema was superficial: besides the Disney Classics, my initiation to the seventh art was limited to efficient and soulless Hollywood blockbusters, dubbed into French, which my father would take me to see (often to appreciate the dubbing, which was how he made his living). My mother was never pleased about these excursions, suspicious of the influence these films had on me. Later, I would come to believe she might blame them for my adolescent violence and indiscipline.
In spite of all that, it was my mother who took me to my cinematic baptism. In December of 1997, I was 9 years old, and my mother brought me to the, regrettably now defunct, theater Le Parisian. Throughout the course of the evening, I felt as though I was experiencing all the “firsts” that life has to offer in hyper speed: I fell in love with a man, a woman, costumes, design, images…I felt the shivers that accompany a genuinely great story, ambitious, told with respect for the rules of art, intelligent, epic, and sensational.
The cinematic shock cannot be overstated, and I knew that I needed in that moment to learn English as fast as possible, so that I too could act in American movies. It was also at this point in my life that I started dressing up in my mother’s clothes more often, more seriously, and without her ever preventing me. I spent more and more time eschewing a real world in which I found myself disliked by other kids my own age, collecting false friends due to my notoriety and creating an isolating shell of arrogance. This cinematic shock was, I realized only recently, a revelation: not only did I know that I wanted the unsinkable love I had witnessed on screen to one day be mine.
Fifteen years later, I watch Laurence Anyways and I see my childhood still secretly at play. To be clear, I do not wish to become a woman, and my film is an homage to the ultimate love story: ambitious, impossible, the love we want to be sensational, boundless, the love that we don’t dare hope for, the love that only cinema, books and art provide.
Laurence Anyways is an homage to the time in my life, before I became a director, when I had to become a man.”