Critic- and Crowd-Pleasers at Cannes

The debut of Flemish director Lukas Dhont was the surprise hit at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Juries, critics and audiences alike were taken with GIRL, resulting in the film being awarded four prizes.

Among them is the prestigious Caméra D’Or award for the best first feature film (making Dhont the first Flemish filmmaker ever to win the award) and the Palm for Best Actor, Victor Polster, who impressed audiences with his performance as a transgender girl. 

In the interview, filmmaker Lukas Dhont gives insights into the challenges of casting and the true story behind the screenplay about a transgender teenager who pursues his dream as a ballet dancer against all odds.

Lukas Dhont on his identity and gender.

Many years later, when I started my film studies, I read an article about a young girl in a newspaper. They were born in the body of a boy, but convinced they wanted to be a girl despite their biological characteristics. My admiration for her was enormous. I really wanted to portray such a figure, a brave young person who challenges a society in which the biological, social and cultural definitions of gender are inevitably linked. That was the starting point for GIRL. The need to say something about how we perceive gender, femininity and masculinity. However, it is primarily about the inner struggle of the young protagonist, who puts her own body at risk to become the person she wants to be. She decides to become her true self at the age of fifteen – a decision that many others need a lifetime for. “

When I was a kid, my dad wanted me to become a Boy Scout. Every two weeks he would send my brother and I to Scouts, and we played with the other kids in the mud or went camping. We both hated it. We preferred to act, sing and dance because we could express ourselves better. You can imagine how confusing it was for us when we learned shortly after that this was considered feminine, something “for girls”. I was a boy, so how could I have fun doing that? At some point I let it go because I did not want to be laughed at.


DCM bringt GIRL als Booking&Billing-Titel von Universum in die deutschen Kinos.