‘Close’ director Lukas Dhont at the 80th annual Golden Globe Awards in January. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) NEW YORK (AP) — When Lukas Dhont was 12, a camera was thrust into his hands.
For Dhont, who would come out as gay as a young adult, the camera was an escape from the strains and stereotypes he was beginning to feel pushed on him. “I needed this other reality in which I could disappear because my own reality was one where I very much felt the pressures of these expectations and these codes and these norms that were put upon my body just because I was male,” the 31-year-old Belgian filmmaker says.
In his first home movies, Dhont created silly sci-fi shorts. His brother Michiel (now Dhont’s producer) would play an alien or a zombie.
Later, Dhont discovered a wider movie world through things like the films of Chantal Akerman, and realized that cinema could be a place to confront reality, not run from it. “I stopped filming the zombies and turned the camera toward me,” says Dhont.