Belgium has selected Lukas Dhont’s debut feature, Girl, as its submission for this year’s Foreign Language Oscar race. The drama won the Camera d’Or in Cannes for best first film, and also scored the Best Performance nod in the Un Certain Regard section for lead Victor Polster. Netflix acquired Girl for North and Latin America out of the festival.
Polster plays Lara, a determined 15-year-old committed to becoming a professional ballerina. With the support of her father, she throws herself into the quest. But her adolescent frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realizes her body does not bend so easily to the strict discipline, because she was born a boy.
Dhont let the cat out of the bag to Le Soir that the Flemish title will screen at next weekend’s Telluride Film Festival before heading to Toronto. “In the next two weeks, we’ll have the reaction of American and Canadian audiences. I can’t wait and I’m also stressed at the same time because I don’t know if the welcome will be the same as what we’ve had in Europe… Our greatest strength is the film,” he told the newspaper. The Match Factory handles sales on the Menuet production.
Girl’s hardware thus far also includes the Queer Palm and FIPRESCI Prize in Cannes as well as awards at the Odessa International Film Festival, the Palic Film Festival and Les Arcs. Belgium has been nominated seven times at the Oscars, but has never taken home a statue.
Belgium is the latest to throw its hat into the ring in what will be a steady stream over the next month or so. Below is the updated running list of country submissions:
2019 Foreign Language Film Oscar Submissions
- Belarus – Crystal Swan – Darya Zhuk
- Belgium – Girl – Lukas Dhont
- Estonia – Take It Or Leave It – Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo
- Romania – I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians – Radu Jude
- Slovakia – The Interpreter – Martin Sulik
- Switzerland – Eldorado – Markus Imhoof
- Turkey – The Wild Pear Tree – Nuri Bilge Ceylan
- UK – I Am Not A Witch – Rungano Nyoni