Xavier Dolan's Tom at the Farm screens exclusively at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center for a weeklong run. Having struggled to obtain distribution for nearly two years, this rare screening is compulsory viewing. For ticketing information, click here.
Those familiar with Dolan for the stylistic flourishes of Laurence Anyways may be surprised to see how subdued the director is on this outing. While his penchant for aggressive stylism is still there, it’s not Tom at the Farm’s highlight. Instead, this is a film about repression and anxiety and as such, it figures prominently into the construction of the picture. The film opens with a stunning sequence where Tom (Xavier Dolan) drives through the murky flatlands of Quebec. The Shining-esque opening, set to a cover of Michel Legrand’s "Les Moulins de Mon Cœur", is at the same time soothing and jarring - this a very deliberate siren’s song to lure you into this rural nightmare. Tom takes shelter in the home of his recently deceased boyfriend, Guy. Finding the home abandoned, he sleeps at the kitchen table before being startled by the home’s owner - Guy’s mother Agatha (Lise Roy). While initially startled to find this young man in her home, she quickly welcomes Tom. With so few people attending Guy’s funeral, she’s thankful to hear from anyone in Guy’s life. She is also unaware of Tom and Guy’s relationship. Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), Guy’s brother, is less welcoming. He’s aware of Tom’s relationship to Guy and does not want his mother to know of Guy’s homosexuality. Francis exerts himself over Tom, creating scenario upon scenario for Tom to follow and, more often than not, violently lashing out against Tom when he fails to meet his impossibly high standards.Read More