Winner of the Grand Jury Prize (tied with Claire Denis) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with his sophomore feature, Lukas Dhont has cemented his status as a filmmaker who works in sorrow and a high EQ. Not unlike the enormous weight carried by the protagonist in his 2018 film debut Girl, the lead here is guilt stricken before becoming grief stricken. While there is compassion and a support system that surrounds the young Leo – his detachment and occasional bouts of silence are crippling. Featuring a fascinating turn by Émilie Dequenne and a break-out debut by non-actor Eden Dambrine who manages to add profundity to innocence lost, Close is about the type of non-descriptive wedge that creates a distance in friendship — one that is not only measured in inches but unannounced and forced disinterest. Never has a missed bicycle ride between friends felt so soul-crushing and unknowingly cruel.
An exciting new voice in queer cinema and a standout in the new wave of Belgium filmmakers, the A24 folks will be launching Close in January — timed perfectly for consideration for the Best Intl. Feature category at the upcoming Oscars. Touring the film festival circuit, he made a pit stop in Montreal for the Canadian premiere at the Cinemania Film Festival. We discussed the color motifs in the film, how he worked with Eden Dambrine and Émilie Dequenne, and his observational approach. Painter Henry Scott Tuke and poet Walt Whitman are among those who left an impression of Dhont.