Xavier Dolan
Director Xavier Dolan was not happy about Netflix UK changing the screening ratio of his film Mommy. Stuart C Wilson/Getty

Xavier Dolan's Cannes prize-winning film Mommy has recently been made available on Netflix UK, but while fans of his might be happy that the streaming site has added the picture to its catalogue, Dolan himself has not been so keen. Most of the film was shot in a 1:1 aspect ratio, apart from a few scenes, whereas most films today are shot in 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 aspect ratios. However, Netflix seemed to have ignored the changes in aspect ratio throughout the film, and elected to show it entirely in 1:1.

On the unusual filmmaking style, Dolan previously said, "I know a lot of people are saying, 'Oh, 1:1, how pretentious.' But for me, it seems a more humble and private format, a little more fitting to these lives we're diving into. Cinemascope [2.35:1] would have been extremely pretentious and incompatible for Mommy. To try to get in that apartment and film these people in that aspect ratio would have been unseemly."

Mommy movie
Mommy was streamed on Netflix UK in purely 1:1 without Dolan's consent Shayne Laverdiere/Les Films Séville

Basically, there were specific reasons behind the director's creative decisions to emphasise the claustrophobia around his main character and visually representing his inner self-containment.

But equally, the wider shots acted as a vast juxtaposition that highlighted even further that the typical aspect was constrained.

And it's safe to say, Dolan wasn't happy about losing that effect in Netflix's representation.

Taking to his personal Twitter account, the 26 year old penned an open letter to the global service, focusing mainly on the UK version of the platform to criticise the company for tampering with his film and arguing against its decisions to do so.

"It has come to my attention, thanks to the tweets of alert users, that you were streaming my movie Mommy in a mispresented way, having altered its aspect-ratio. Who has bestowed on you the right to revise my choices," he writes, "and how competently have you pondered the impact of such decisions on my film and the public? I can hardly imagine that the domestic distributor of this film has given you such license without consulting me first – and even then, I'd be shocked by your lack of judgement.

"You did not direct this movie. You did not write this movie. You did not produce this movie. So can anyone or anything expect me warrant the liberty you took upon my work? No. Unless otherwise instructed, you remain a platform that showcases the work of directors who have never mandated you for anything else than your streaming capacities. You can crop and tweak if you want, but don't touch my film. Take it as it is, or remove it."

Netflix UK has since responded to Dolan's message, tweeting back to the Café de Flore director. Their answer simply stated, "Hi Xavier, thank you for letting us know. We are looking into this." Dolan had the last word, however –or more accurately, emoji – after he tweeted back an image of clapping hands.

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