Aiden Dambrin, Gustave de Waele, Emilie Deakin
December 25, 2022
«My investigation is calm and not emotional about grief, loss, and guilt.»
Leo and Remy have been friends their whole lives, and the relationship is so close that they alternately live with each other’s families and often share a bed. When classmates suggest they are a couple, a falling out ensues: the quick-witted Leo is looking for greater society, and gently pushes the more introverted Remy away from him. When a tragedy changes their entire existence, the characters must deal with grief, loss, and guilt—complicated circumstances that a thirteen-year-old cannot easily articulate.
Belgian Lukas Dont was just 27 when his first film, The Girl – about a transgender teenager’s dream of becoming a ballerina – premiered at Cannes in 2018. This year, “Close” competed in the main program and won the Jury Prize. arbitration. The film is a Belgian Oscar nominee and has already won awards at the festival.
Dhont based the plot on his upbringing and on researching young boys’ friendships: in elementary school, a best friend is the most important person in life, but in his teenage years such cohabitations are seen as feminine. The way this tenderness is trivialized is a cruel and crude characteristic of society – the boys in the film must deal with the homophobia of others through change.
Or maybe the change is about liberation from childhood and the restriction of friendship? Leo’s more aggressive new society experiences on the ice hockey team are portrayed without conviction.
The great quality of “Close” lies in this sympathy for the main characters and their surroundings. family, teachers and classmates; Everyone seems to be good people, they are as understanding as they can be – within the existing norms. By being quietly investigative rather than bombastic and sentimental, the film maintains its charm – in an almost hypnotic way. The crucial tragedy is told in a heartbreakingly realistic manner, without pretense of shock or surprise.
The story is complex and straightforward, it focuses on the theme and the main character, without side plots or other distractions, and never a single second seems superfluous.
A crueler world
Such an approach is possible because we experience the world as Leo does, from his eye level. And “Close” would be a very different movie without the adventurous presence of actor Eden Dambrine. Happy optimism, pent-up despair, cautious hope, tentative socialization—myriad shades can be read in Dambrin’s face language and body language.
The combination of subtlety and sensibility sometimes brings to mind Joachim Trier at Cannes.
Thus, the film is richer than the double meaning of the title—closeness and closeness—suggests. The driving force is the unformatted need for reconciliation, to be able to move on in life, but “Closing” contains much more than that. As musings about how we treat others, how we can never fully know what is going on inside them. and the tragic inevitability of giving up childhood in favor of a harsher, colder, less understanding world.
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