The ridiculously talented 22 year-old actor-director Xavier Dolan follows up his 2009 festival hit I Killed My Mother with Heartbeats (Les Amours Imaginaires). Set in Quebec, it follows the friendship of Marie and Francis and their infatuation with a mysterious newcomer, the cool and insouciantly handsome Nicolas. Opening with a recurring set of interviews with love scorned young people, Heartbeats lays down a tonne of 20-something sarcasm communicated through tongue-clicks, snide smirks and eye-rolls galore.
Bright young things jaded by love, Marie and Francis' nervous, quick-fire word vomiting sessions are followed by artful moments of introspection. While their fluffed phone-calls and self-reproaches in mirrors are by no means original, the theatricality of their unlikely rivalry is refreshing. Making use of unusual angles and itchy-handed camerawork, Heartbeats' overall aesthetic matches the tone of casual très cool. Beautifully shot with a striking yet limited palette, it hits all the notes of unrequited love to the tune of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) and Bach's Suite No 1 on cello. [Nicola Balkind]