The most hyped film in Cannes makes entire cinemas howl

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I have a big problem: On the one hand, I want to write about Close, the latest young-people-experience-traumatic-things-drama from girl director Lukas Dhont. The film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and was considered by many to be a Favorite for the Palme d’Or.

To make it clear why Close’s peek experience is a cinematic punch in the face equals, I would have to reveal what happens a good halfway through. But once I say that, the punch won’t hurt as much because you’re already expecting it. And sometimes movies have to hurt.

At first glance, the Cannes insider tip Close is reminiscent of the Netflix hit Heartstopper

Close is about an extraordinary boy friendship. Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustav De Waele) are best friends for as long as you can remember. They share everything with each other, understand each other better than anyone else in the world and if one of them can’t fall asleep because the thoughts are spinning too much in his head, the other calms him down – and they fall asleep tightly hugged.

You can get a first glimpse of Close here:

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The two are only 13 years old, whether it is purely friendly or romantic between them remains unsaid. But when Léo and Rémi start a new school, they become asked about their intimate, tender dealings with each other. A classmate wants to know whether they are together, after all, male friends don’t treat each other like that. The two say no, but Léo can’t get the comment out of his head.

He wants from the other guys who are always just about sports and never talk about feelings, to be taken seriously. So he pushes Rémi further and further away from him – until he finally loses him completely.

Who the topic of potentially romantically charged boy friendship sounds familiar: Netflix recently released Heartstopper, an enchanting series that addresses similar themes. But where the streaming title suggests the possibility of a better, less deadlocked world, Close brutally pulls the rug out from under one’s feet in one scene.

The all-changing moment of shock in the Cannes film freezes an entire cinema

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Leo helps his family on the local flower farm

When the tragic incident that takes the film in a whole new direction happens, it becomes dead silent at the press screening in the cinema. I frantically wipe tears from my face and try to focus on the hypnotically beautiful images, the impressive acting performances, the focus on the questions: What if, overnight, I lose the only person who really understands me? And what if I think it’s my fault?

The weird thing about Close is that the film is equal parts subtle and over-the-top. A rush of images and emotions that doesn’t do everything right, but creates something that other films that may be better structured and told through don’t always achieve: the audience on the brink of an emotional breakdown bring. I keep hearing sobs and desperate throat clearing for the rest of the movie. Collective coping with trauma in the dark.

In the end, however, it is not the tragic event at the end of Act I that resonates most in Close. It’s the certainty of what an empty, sad life it must be to live in as a growing boy no intimacy, no real intimacy, no physical closeness to another boy outside of team sports without being publicly disparaged for it.

With that, Close may not be telling anything new, but it is telling something painfully true. Whether that really to best film in cannes 2022 makes, as was speculated in advance, the jury will have to decide. When she has dried her tears.

*. . .

When was the last time you cried at the cinema?