Girl wins big at Cannes Film Festival


Flemish director Lukas Dhont’s new film Girl has won four awards at Cannes, including the famed Caméra D’Or, and has been programmed to open the Gent Film Festival

Ground-breaking in more ways than one

The new Flemish film Girl won four awards at the Cannes Film Festival, which ended at the weekend, including the prestigious Caméra D’Or for best first feature film. Director Lukas Dhont is the first Flemish filmmaker to ever win the prize.

Girl is the story of an adolescent ballerina who was born a boy. It was a hit with audiences, critics and juries at Cannes, bringing home no less than four awards.

Victor Polster, who plays the lead in the film, won the best actor award in the Un Certain Regard programme, with the jury headed by Benicio De Toro. The international press Fipresci Prize also went to Girl, as did Canne’s Queer Palm.

After its world premiere, Girl received a standing ovation of several minutes, and the critics took to the internet to write glowing reviews. Le Figaro called it “the first real surprise of the festival,” while De Standaard called it “a moving experience, without one false sentiment”.

Oscar buzz

“In simple, unambiguous terms, Dhont delivers an intuitively accessible look at a gender nonconforming teenager trying to find the courage to be herself, relying on a stunning central performance from 15-year-old Victor Polster,” wrote Variety, who named Girl one of the 12 best films at Cannes this year.

Netflix immediately bought the North and Latin American rights to stream the film, and the buzz for Belgium’s official Oscar entry is strong.

Lukas Dhont, 26, is a graduate of Ghent’s KASK art academy. He co-wrote the film together with actor and screenwriter Angelo Tijssens. Girl opens in Belgium this autumn.

Photo: Victor Polster (left) won best actor for his leading role in Girl

UPDATE 23 MAY: Girl has been scheduled to open the Gent Film Festival on 9 October.