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‘Close’ Director Lukas Dhont Reveals How Christina Aguilera’s Song ‘Fighter’ Set Him On The Road To This Year’s Oscars

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From the moment it premiered in Cannes, where it won the Grand Prize, Lukas Dhont’s Close became a hot bet in the International Oscar race.

Following his 2018 debut Girl, which focused on a transgender ballet dancer, Close is another poignant snapshot of youth, this time telling the story of a pre-teen boy and the guilt he feels when he grows apart from his emotionally troubled best friend.

At just 31, the charismatic Belgian director is already a festival veteran and European arthouse poster boy; it seems to be only a matter of time before he breaks out into the world of commercial cinema. DEADLINE: When did you first develop the idea for Close?

Was it straight after Girl? LUKAS DHONT: When I went back to writing, after the whole journey of the first film, I realized that I wanted to make a companion piece to it, in the sense that Girl was so much about femininity and I really wanted to make something about masculinity.

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