MONTREAL - "Tom at the Farm," the fourth feature film from Quebec director Xavier Dolan, has won the International Federation of Film Critics' best film prize at the Venice Film Festival.
Dolan said he's relieved by the recognition for his psychological thriller, which is also slated to be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
He said he didn't want to disappoint people.
"I didn't want to see negative headlines such as 'Tom at the Farm' returns empty-handed," he said Friday with a laugh.
The film premiered Monday in Venice to a standing ovation, which Dolan described as "very sincere."
"In the past, I have I have attended several events where the applause seemed like a formality while here, people were very moved," Dolan said. "It was beautiful."
"Tom at the Farm," is an adaptation of the French-language play by Michel Marc Bouchard, who worked with Dolan to bring it to the screen. Its original French title is "Tom a la ferme."
It tells the story of Tom, who goes to the country to attend the funeral of his lover who has died in a traffic accident. He meets his girlfriend's parents only to be drawn into a dark game rooted in the family's past.
While homosexuality is addressed, as it is in Dolan's other works, he says it is not the driving force of the film.
"It is not the heart of the film," he said.
"It's really a film about violence and intolerance, the growing chasm between men from the city and men from the country, about grief, lying and how people lie to themselves."
After the media whirl expected at TIFF, Dolan says he'll be back at work on his fifth film, maintaining the steady schedule for which he's known.
"I'm already in pre-production for my fifth feature, which will start shooting this fall with Anne Dorval."
He estimates the film should finish filming in January.
Dolan will also be keeping busy with another film as well, acting alongside Bruce Greenwood in a movie by Charles Biname.