Close by Lukas Dhont wins LUX Audience Award
The Belgian film Close has won the 2023 LUX Audience Award. Flemish director Lukas Dhont and screenwriter Angelo Tijssens received the award at the European Parliament on Tuesday in the presence of Parliament president Roberta Metsola.
Five films were nominated for this year's prize, organised by the European Parliament and the European Film Academy. The award is an initiative to promote cultural diversity and give tangible support to European cinema and the arts.
"We dedicate this award to a young generation that is trying to be themselves in the face of opposition"
Close beat Palme d'Or winner Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund, Berlinale competition film Alcarràs by Carla Simón, Burning Days by Emin Alper and Will-o'-the-Wisp by João Pedro Rodrigues.
Close centres on a friendship between two 13-year-old boys that is brutally disrupted. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022 and was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2022 and for the Oscar for Best International Film in 2023.
Values under pressure
"It is wonderful to feel so much love from European audiences for our film, in which we talk emphatically about intimacy and connection. Especially at a time when these values are under pressure everywhere, including within the EU," Dhont said on Tuesday.
"In Bulgaria two screenings of Close were interrupted by extremists, in Italy adoption rights for queer couples are under pressure, in Hungary there is a ban on so-called 'LGBT propaganda'. We dedicate this award to a young generation that is trying to be themselves in the face of this and other opposition," Dhondt said.
Dhondt had already garnered critical acclaim in 2018 for his first feature, Girl, about a promising teenage ballerina struggling with gender dysphoria.
#FlandersNewsService | Belgian actor Eden Dambrine, director Lukas Dhont and actor Gustav De Waele at the Cannes Film Festival © PHOTO VALERY HACHE / AFP