IT'S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (JUSTE LA FIN DU MONDE)
For his sixth feature film — which took the Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival — AFI FEST favorite Xavier Dolan teams with a powerhouse cast of French superstars to adapt an intimate, observant stage play by Jean-Luc Lagarce. Gaspard Ulliel stars as Louis, a writer returning home after years away to share some troubling news with his family. His mother (Nathalie Baye), standoffish brother (Vincent Cassel), meek sister-in-law (Marion Cotillard) and eager-to-please sister (Léa Seydoux) are a volatile mix of personalities and temperaments, turning even the smallest conversational misstep into fertile ground for a full-blown argument. As Louis struggles to navigate the gauntlet of bittersweet memories and built-up resentments his absence has created, Dolan captures his stellar cast in claustrophobic close-up. He allows the tiniest of gestures to speak volumes, beautifully illustrating the uncomfortable truth that our honesty doesn't always come easily with the people who know us best. — Mike Dougherty
Québécois filmmaker Xavier Dolan burst onto the international film scene with I KILLED MY MOTHER (AFI FEST 2009), which won three awards at Cannes Directors' Fortnight. All of his successive films have also played AFI FEST: HEARTBEATS (2010), LAURENCE ANYWAYS (2012), TOM AT THE FARM (2013), MOMMY (2014) and 2016's IT'S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD.