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Belgian film 'Close' wins European Parliament's 2023 LUX Audience Award

Belgian director Lucas Dhont speaking in the European Parliament on Tuesday 27th June, 2023.
Belgian director Lucas Dhont speaking in the European Parliament on Tuesday 27th June, 2023. Copyright European Union 2023 - Source : EP
Copyright European Union 2023 - Source : EP
By Isabel da Silva
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Other nominees for the prize included Spanish director Carla Simón's 'Alcarràs' and the Oscar nominated 'Triangle of Sadness'.

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Belgian director Lucas Dhont won the Lux Audience Award 2023 on Tuesday for his film 'Close', about two teenage boys' close friendship that ends in a tragic way.

The movie shows some of the challenges for the LGBT community, an issue that was also featured in two of the other nominated films.

At the ceremony in Brussels, the winner told Euronews that these are worrying times for minorities.

"When you look at Bulgaria, or Hungary or Italy we see that there is this tendency for anti-LGBTQI+ propaganda, so I do not find it surprising that a lot of these films tackle those topics around identity, around gender, around sexuality," Dhont said.

"I also think that we live in a world that very often presents itself in a very brutal way and our goal with 'Close' was to show our human desire for connectedness when we are young."

The other four films shortlisted were "Alcarràs" from Spain, "Burning Days" from Turkey, "Triangle of Sadness" from Sweden and "Will-o'-the-Wisp" from Portugal.

The prize, organised by the European Parliament and the European Film Academy, aims to promote awareness of issues such as human dignity, social inclusion, tolerance and justice.

Lucas Dhont said that artists need support to speak in an "authentic and radical way".

"I think that all these five films talk about our human nature. They talk about our need for magic, for a place to invent ourselves."

"So to be part of those five films and be at the centre of this celebration of European cinema really means a lot to me, to us," the Belgian director said.

The European Parliament organised around 500 screenings of the five films, subtitled in the Union's 24 official languages and the system for hearing-impaired audiences.

The viewings were followed by debates about the topics of the films and the need to foster cultural diversity. 

Around 45,000 people watched the free screenings of the films, all of whom were allowed to vote alongside the members of the European Parliament.

It was the first time the public was also invited to the award ceremony.

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