Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Director Lukas Dhont's Oscar-nominated drama gets 'Close' to audiences everywhere
by Jerry Nunn
2023-01-27

This article shared 2509 times since Fri Jan 27, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Belgian director Lukas Dhont's new French-language film Close—a nominee for Best International Feature Film for the 95th Annual Academy Awards—tells the touching story of two 13-year-old best friends, Leo (Eden Dambrine) and Remi (Gustav De Waele), who begin school together and face numerous challenges from the people around them.

This is a personal project for the gay filmmaker; Dhont combines his past experiences with universal themes to reach a wide audience. He wrote Close with Angelo Tijssens, whom he previously collaborated with for the film project Girl, about a transgender girl who pursues a career as a ballerina.

Besides the Oscar nomination, Close has been taking home trophies such as the Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Dhont spoke up Close and personal at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago while hosting an early screening of the film in the Windy City.

Windy City Times: You grew up in Belgium, but where are you based now?

Lukas Dhont: I am still in Ghent, Belgium.

WCT: What is the gay scene like in Belgium?

LD: It is big! [Ghent] is similar to Brussels, where there is a big party scene.

WCT: Is there a big Pride parade?

LD: Yes.

WCT: Was it difficult coming out as gay?

LD: Yes it was. When I was a younger person, I wanted to be like the other boys. I felt the pressure to conform at a young age. It took me many years to find the authentic and true self that I have now.

WCT: Was Close based on some of your experiences when you co-wrote it?

LD: I tried to start from a very personal place, and as I wrote I tried to leave myself behind very quickly, so that I could look for a way to phrase it as universally as possible.

I am not Greek, but I strongly agree with the idea of collective catharsis. When I write, I try to look for a way in which to connect. With this movie, I wanted to connect people from different worlds together. Viewers may connect with it personally, but that is interpretation.

I look for things that are shared and what we have all been through. We have all been brokenhearted over friendship. We have all felt guilty in a way that has trapped us.

WCT: So you are not just writing for a straight or a gay audience specifically?

LD: I try not to exclude anyone.

WCT: Where did you find Eden Dambrine and Gustav De Waele to play the main roles?

LD: I found Eden on a train. I was taking a train from Antwerp to Ghent in Belgium. I was listening to Max Richter's music. Everything becomes very cinematic when you listen to his music.

WCT: I listen to Max for my meditation class.

LD: I love him! I was listening to him and on the train while I am looking around. As I look next to me, I see this angel talking to his friends and being very expressive. I could see a world hiding behind his eyes. Life was giving me a gift, and I decided to act upon it. I asked him if he would consider being in a film. He became super-excited, and I found out afterward that he thought I had offered him the part.

His mother came with him to the castings, along with all the other people from around Brussels who we had found while scouting. Our casting process was quite elaborate in the sense that we worked with groups of boys in workshops for a full day.

For young people who have never acted before or been in front of a camera, we needed to build their confidence so that they dared to propose and show things. I have found out that I can learn a lot by observing someone in a group. It can show a lot about a person's personality.

This was an ideal way to get to know how they are. Eden and Gustav came together in a group and had never seen each other before. There was chemistry and magnetism between these two boys. We also noticed the physicality which was important for this film.

Before the last round of casting, they read the script. This led to a very beautiful and intense conversation. I think we can learn so much as a society by listening to 13-year-olds. They don't say things because society accepts them or expects them to—they say things because they are so purely connected to the heart. There is a pure essence to what they say that I think is incredibly powerful.

They really helped reshape the last version of the script. The framework and dramaturgy were there, but that conversation deeply influenced what the play has become.

WCT: How emotional is it to watch Close now?

LD: I can't watch the film anymore. The film for me now is a gathering of details. I have worked on these details for four years. I have seen it over and over, whether in my imagination or in the studio. I have tried to perfect every detail as well as possible.

It will take me some time to see Close as a film again. I see the film again through the eyes of the audience. I hear them when they speak and when they feel, then I feel the film all over again. I feel the film through them and don't actually watch it.

WCT: Has there been an audience question that sticks out in your mind?

LD: I like to answer all of the audience's questions. I can answer questions from my point of view, but there is no real answer because this is a subjective medium. The film exists only when two eyes watch it. Everyone watches it from their own background, culture and life experiences. That shapes what the film becomes. I push it in a direction, but there is a fluidity to its themes and impacts depending on who watches it.

WCT: What would you like audiences to take away from Close?

LD: Close is a film that looks regret in the eyes. We have all regretted things profoundly and carried them with us, although we may have not confronted them.

It is also a film about the importance of power and the fragility of our connections. We live in a world where we often get separated. I find this as a reminder of the caution needed sometimes to celebrate each other.

WCT: Is there an LGBTQ+ story you would still like to tell?

LD: This is our second film. There are many things I would like to speak on.

We are working on a new film right now and slowly developing it while finding out what the desires are. The moment I go back to my little desk, I will start shaping it the way I think is necessary.

WCT: So this new film will be with Angelo Tijssens again?

LD: Yes.

WCT: Is this a partnership that works really well together?

LD: Yes, he's a great sparring partner and even cooks really well. He's a dramaturg and looks at the arc of a story. I connect with him and we work together well.

WCT: He is gay also?

LD: Yes, he identifies as gay.

WCT: Was there one thing that you both learned from Girl that you brought to Close?

LD: There were so many things. We learned every step of the way during the process. I try to grow and push my limits within creative boundaries. I look for something precise that can be felt in a strong way.

I learned a lot while making Girl about directing and being the head of the ship. I worked to keep things on track and moving in the same direction, so I feel like I gathered a lot from that experience.

WCT: We both returned from the Critics Choice Association Awards this week. Did you meet a celebrity there that you would like to work with in the future?

LD: I loved Dolly De Leon's performance from Triangle of Sadness. I think she is an incredible actress and I saw her at the Critics Choice ceremony. Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett would be great also!

Close opens in Chicago theaters on February 3, 2023.


This article shared 2509 times since Fri Jan 27, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

LGBTQ+ film fest Queer Expression to feature Alexandra Billings in 'Queen Tut' 2024-04-12
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Pride Film Fest celebrates its second decade with a new name—QUEER EXPRESSION—and has announced its slate of LGBTQ+-themed feature, mid-length and short films for in-person and virtual events in April and May. QUEER EXPRESSI ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, '9-1-1' actor, Kayne the Lovechild, STARZ shows, Cynthia Erivo 2024-04-12
- Gay comedian/filmmaker Jerrod Carmichael criticized Dave Chappelle, opening up about the pair's ongoing feud and calling out Chappelle's opinions on the LGBTQ+ community, PinkNews noted, citing an Esquire article. Carmichael ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Outfest, Chita Rivera, figure skaters, letter, playwright dies 2024-04-05
- For more than four decades, Outfest has been telling LGBTQ+ stories through the thousands of films screened during its annual Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival—but that event may have a different look this year because ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Dionne Warwick, OUTshine, Ariana DeBose, 'Showgirls,' 'Harlem' 2024-03-29
Video below - Iconic singer Dionne Warwick was honored for her decades-long advocacy work for people living with HIV/AIDS at a star-studded amfAR fundraising gala in Palm Beach, per the Palm Beach Daily News. Warwick received the "Award of ...


Gay News

WORLD Israel court, conversion therapy, death sentences, Georgia bill, fashion items 2024-03-29
- Israel's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Population Authority must register female couples as mothers on the birth certificates of their children they have together, The Washington Blade reported. The decision was made following a petition ...


Gay News

JP Karliak morphs into non-binary character for Disney+'s X-Men '97 2024-03-22
- series X-Men '97, a revival of the popular X-men: The Animated Series that's both continuing the ongoing mutant storyline and breaking new ground along the way. The character of Morph now looks more like the comic ...


Gay News

WORLD Uganda items, HIV report, Mandela, Liechtenstein, foreign minister weds 2024-03-21
- It turned out that U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Senior LGBTQI+ Coordinator Jay Gilliam traveled to Uganda on Feb. 19-27, per The Washington Blade. He visited the capital of Kampala and the nearby city of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer musicians, Marvel situation, Elliot Page, Nicole Kidman 2024-03-21
- Queer musician Joy Oladokun released the single "I Wished on the Moon," from Jack Antonoff's official soundtrack for the new Apple TV+ series The New Look, per a press release. The soundtrack, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lady Gaga, 'P-Valley,' Wendy Williams, Luke Evans, 'Queer Eye,' 'Transition' 2024-03-15
- Lady Gaga came to the defense of Dylan Mulvaney after a post with the trans influencer/activist for International Women's Day received hateful responses, People Magazine noted. On Instagram, Gaga stated, "It's appalling to me that a ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jinkx Monsoon, Xavier Dolan, 'Frida,' Lena Waithe, out singer 2024-03-08
- Two-time RuPaul's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon is headed back to the New York stage, joining off-Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey beginning April 2, according to Playbill. The casting makes Monsoon the first drag ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer actors, icons duet, Hunter Schafer, Oscars, Elizabeth Taylor 2024-03-01
- Queer actor Kal Penn is set to star in Trust Me, I'm a Doctor—a film that chronicles the final days of actress/model Anna Nicole Smith, whose overdose death in 2007 at age 39 sparked a tabloid ...


Gay News

Dorian Film Awards: 'All of Us Strangers' takes top prizes 2024-02-27
- February 26, 2024 - Los Angeles, Ca. - For its 15th Dorian Film Awards, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics fully embraced All of Us Strangers, writer-director Andrew Haigh's fantastical and tear-inducing tale of two ...


Gay News

SAG Awards honor Streisand, few LGBTQ+ actors 2024-02-25
- Queer entertainers made their mark—although not a major one—at the 2024 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, held Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. The event was live-streamed on Netflix for the first time. Indigenous and Two-Spirit actor ...


Gay News

WORLD Caribbean ruling, Pussy Riot, Russian raid, Canadian warning, anti-trans bar 2024-02-23
- The top court in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines dismissed a challenge to colonial-era anti-gay laws, Reuters reported. Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish—two gay men who had pushed to decriminalize ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kristen Stewart, Rock Hudson, Talia Keys, 'True Detective,' Marvel comic 2024-02-23
- At the Berlin Film Festival, Kristen Stewart defended her photo shoot for a Rolling Stone magazine cover that went viral and divided audiences on social-media platforms, per The Hollywood Reporter. "The existence of a female body ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.