Stéphane Lafleur's new black and white film to premiere at Cannes

Montreal filmmaker Stéphane Lafleur is packing his bags for France after his third feature, Tu dors Nicole, was selected for the Quinzaine des realisateurs.

Tu dors Nicole's timelessness makes story the 'summer of everyone'

Montreal filmmaker Stéphane Lafleur is going to Cannes with Tu dors Nicole.

Montreal filmmaker Stéphane Lafleur is packing his bags for Cannes. 

His third feature, Tu dors Nicole, has been selected for the Quinzaine des realisateurs, the Directors' Fortnight.

Lafleur has been to other big festivals with his previous films, Continental un film sans fusil and En terrains connus, but Cannes is the biggest and the most prestigious of all the European festivals and he's very excited. 

"As you know, the first festival that picks the film is really stressful because it's the first audience that sees the film," he said.

"So, being picked by Cannes as a first audience is exciting especially when you see the [directors] that passed before you at the Directors' Fortnight."

Those other directors include fellow Quebecer, Xavier Dolan.

His first film, J'ai tué ma mère brought Dolan international attention at Cannes. This year, Dolan goes to Cannes in the official competition with his latest feature, Mommy, starring Ann Dorval. 

Lafleur is a study in contrasts to Dolan. He's a soft-spoken, plaid-shirt wearing thinker. Lafleur is also lead singer in the indie band Avec pas d'casque.

He likes to tell small stories about real people.  

"I'm trying to do films people can relate to. I'm not trying to tell stories about people you will never meet in your life. I'm working on other side, these are people you could meet or things that could happen to you.

"But I do like to  insert an element of fantasy. You can do anything in a film. I always try to put that into a script."

Tu dors Nicole is set in the summer. It's the story of 22-year-old Nicole (Julianne Côté), whose family is away for the summer.  

When her older brother (Marc-AndréGrondin) shows up with his band to record an album, the girl's friendship is put to the test. 

It's a film about being in your early 20s, in the summer — a time of life that Lafleur thinks is fraught with promise and unrequited expectations. 

Filmed in black and white, Tu dors Nicole becomes timeless.

Lafleur says it could be, "anyone's 20s". 

"It's not a film about people 20-ish in 2014. The fact that it's black and white means it becomes the summer of everyone. It's your summer of your twenties."

Lafleur leaves Friday for Cannes. Tu dors Nicole premieres on May 20.

About the Author

Jeanette Kelly

Jeanette Kelly works as the arts reporter at CBC Montreal. She's also the host of Cinq à Six, Quebec's Saturday afternoon culture show on CBC Radio One.