In his second feature film Close, Belgian director Lukas Dhont tells a story of a close friendship between two thirteen-year-old boys that is thwarted when they enter college.
Cannes Film Festival 2022: Winner of the Caméra d’or in 2018 for Girl, a film about a transgender teenager born a boy, played by Victor Polster (Un Certain Regard Best Actor prize), Lukas Dhont with Close, draws on his own past to tell the story of two young boys whose fusional friendship will come to a tragic end. After Jeune Femme, her first feature film with Laetitia Dosch, Caméra d’or in 2017, Léonor Serraille presents Un Petit Frère in competition, which tells the story of the construction and deconstruction of a family, from the end of the 1980s until today. After last year’s closing film OSS 117: Red Alert in Black Africa in 2021 and La Belle Époque, Nicolas Bedos presents Mascarade, starring Pierre Niney and Isabelle Adjani, out of competition.
Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustave De Waele), two pre-teen childhood friends, are inseparable: they share all their free time in games, according to their imagination, and often sleep together, at each other’s houses. Léo is more mature than Rémi, since he already works on his parents’ flower farm. Rémi, gifted with an artistic sensibility, is a musician: he plays the oboe (a wink from the author?) The story of the film unfolds over the seasons, and here comes the start of the school year.
Alas, their classmates at school find their attachment, quips fly and the friends are suspected of being “together”. Sensitive to the instincts of the pack, Léo asserts his virility by distancing himself from Rémi, who sticks too close to him for the girls’ taste. He chooses a “man’s” sport, ice hockey, while Rémi gives a concert as a soloist. Rémi takes it very badly that Léo neglects him and throws a fit. Finally, a tragic and irreparable event turns the lives of Léo and the parents of the two children upside down. Léo tries to relieve his guilt by getting closer to Sophie (Émilie Dequenne), Rémi’s mother.
The seams show
Close’s direction attempts to show the stages of the fusion and then the separation of the two friends, in scenes that follow one another in a repetitive pattern: friends on bikes/friends in college/friends on bikes/friends in college, then college/hockey practice (Léo is constantly falling)/college/hockey… So much so that the seams of the direction show. We imagine the shooting: one day the fields, one day the bike, one day hockey, etc. And then, they cut and paste… Finally, scenes where emotions are played out are mixed in. But Rémi’s mother doesn’t seem very touched by her son’s fate, and Léo, who “is never very hungry”, doesn’t say anything either, but suffers internally, and you can see it… almost too much. In short, not very good!
The Red Carpet of Masquerade and Un Petit Frère
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