Capítulo II _ Cinema - Cinema

Narcissism and Universality: The Cinema of Xavier Dolan

Sheida Sheikhha
Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic


A narcissist, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is one who is “extremely self-centered with an exaggerated sense of self-importance”. Nowadays, narcissism is often studied in regards to contemporary culture, social media, celebrities, and the younger generation. The culmination of these topics can be found in French-Canadian filmmaker and acclaimed “wunderkind” Xavier Dolan. In the twelve years since his directorial debut at the young age of nineteen, Dolan has gone on to direct eight feature films, four of which he has also starred in. Drawing on deeply personal and at times autobiographical themes, it may be difficult to separate Dolan’s characters from Dolan the filmmaker. This may be why in multiple reviews and critiques of his films, primarily those he acts in, the concept of “narcissism” has been a recurring theme.
I aim to offer a definition of narcissism and to classify the narcissistic character traits to look for in a study of the four Dolan films in which he acts. I will then analyze the alleged elements of narcissism in the underlying theme, the visual style, and the characteristics of the main characters in order to determine whether these films can rightfully be considered narcissistic or not. Lastly, the critical acclaim and success that Dolan has been faced with begs the question of whether narcissism is in opposition to universality or whether there is a factor of relatability associated with his films, regardless, or maybe because, of the claims of narcissism.

Palavras-chave Narcisismo, Xavier Dolan, Celebridade, Milenares, Psicanálise.
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Este trabalho encontra-se publicado com a Licença Internacional Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0.

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