Close by Lukas Dhont: the film that toppled Cannes is a must-see

Grand Prix winner at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, Lukas Dhont’s “Close” explores friendship and male emotion through the story of two teenagers. Meet its director and the two stars of the film.

Can friendship withstand societal norms? In his second feature, Close, Lukas Dhont focuses on a pitiless age where looks and words have the power to strike down. Four years after Girl – Camera d’or in 2018 – the Belgian filmmaker confirms his talent with this film, honored with the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022.

It follows the fate of two 13-year-old teenagers, Léo and Rémi, lifelong friends. Their return to a new establishment will upset this bond which they believed to be unbreakable. To write, the director was inspired by a study carried out by Niobe Way. This American psychologist followed her own son from 13 to 18 years old, observing the evolution of his friendships with boys his age.

From the age of 15 or 16, she noticed a change that prevents the teenager from expressing his emotions in the same way as before.explains Lukas Dhont. There is the fear of being judged, of being seen as too feminine.“The filmmaker recognizes himself in this study and decides to devote a film to it, whose title – Close – refers to the idea of ​​closeness, both physical and psychological.

I want to show characters for whom the impact of the world happens inside.

When one walks away, the other is silent. A devastating silence. The director also once took refuge in silence: “I have the feeling that during my childhood and my adolescence, everything happened inside me. From now on, I try to translate this feeling in the cinema. I want to show characters for whom the impact of the world and the gaze of others happens inside.”

Close relies on a duet. To create it, Lukas Dhont surrounds himself with two young actors who embody their first role here: Eden Dambrine (Léo) and Gustav de Waele (Rémi). “Lukas gave us the script and asked us to read it only once. After that, we had to put it away and just rely on our instincts. We never learned the text by heartdetails the second. He shaped the movie about our personalities.”

Kris DEWITTE/Minuet

Director Lukas Dhont (centre) and his cast on the set of ‘Close’.

We spent a lot of time together, we ate together, we went to the searemembers the director. They had to have confidence, they had to ask me questions and let me know their doubts if they knew any.”. It is this connection between the filmmaker and his actors that makes Close an intense film from which we cannot escape unscathed.

Interview by Thomas Desroches, in Cannes, in May 2022.

Close by Lukas Dhont, in theaters November 1, 2022.

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