Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins
Film run time: 1hr 45m
Young Belgian director Lukas Dhont has raised conversations, as well as goosebumps, in his feature debut which follows the physical and emotional turmoil of an adolescent girl pursuing professional ballet, in the midst of gender-confirmation surgery.
Moving with her younger brother Milo and supportive father Mathias allows 15 year-old Lara (Victor Polster) - a gifted and determined transgender girl - to enrol in a prestigious Dutch dance academy. Whilst undergoing hormone therapy, Lara soars through the ‘en pointe’ girls classes, but her sex-reassignment surgery is delayed.
Though uncredited, Dhont’s protagonist is crafted closely around Nora Monsecour - a trans dancer he met when they were both teenagers - whose bravery helped him come to terms with his own identity. Monsecour helped with casting, giving her blessing to Polster, who delivers an elegant and sensitive performance.
Dhont broaches the notions of girlhood and self-acceptance with integrity, earning him the Camera d’Or at Cannes and a standing ovation at its première.
This film provides an insightful perspective which doesn’t simply centre on its multi-faceted protagonist’s external relationships, but also the unseen struggles as Lara confronts her inner demons.
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