Lukas Dhont’s girl : with lost body

Winner of the Caméra d’Or and the Queer Palm at the last Cannes Film Festival, the Belgian Lukas Dhont continues his exploration of the theme of the body (started with his short films Corps perdu and L’Infini ) in this first feature-length light on an apprentice trans dancer who wants life to go faster.

Lukas Dhont plunges her protagonist, Lara (delicate Victor Polster), 15 years, into the world of ballet, a medium that has a very fixed idea of ​​the body, between canons of beauty and frozen vision of what must be the masculinity and femininity. While working very hard, literally exhausting herself to fulfill her dream of becoming a star dancer, Lara does everything to ensure that the operation to bring her body in line with her gender takes place quickly … If it does not avoid some pitfalls on the representation of transidentity (Polster is top, but we regret that the role of a trans person is once again entrusted to a person cisgender, a sequence towards the end of the film is a little too sensationalist), the film is worth first of all because it finally shows what has not been seen in cinema so far:

In this part, which takes the form of a sweet portrait full of empathy (Lara is of all planes, and Dhont succeeds with subtlety to stick to his emotions), the most beautiful sequences are those which stage Lara with his father (Arieh Worthalter) and his little brother in moments of cohesion that are both of great simplicity and perfectly moving. Lukas Dhont knows how to instil a sensitivity and sweetness that sometimes reminds Céline Sciamma’s cinema. But this wadded cocoon has a dark counterpoint. Grueling discipline, brutal transphobia … Through Lara’s body, against which all the violence of her dance school, a highly competitive microcosm, clinically shown, Lukas Dhont reveals in their excessiveness the norms that would model, conform, but which suffocate and ruin; they are all the more exacerbated here that her heroine is both teen and trans. During training sessions, the filmmaker masks moments of weakness and films his face most often impassive, with the right look, dignified and focused. It is this tenacity to assert oneself, to refuse to let one’s identity fade away, that one will not forget.


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