“In 2009, I read an article in a Belgian newspaper about a young girl, born in a boy’s body, who wanted nothing more than to become a ballerina. The story immediately struck me and I kept thinking about it and going back to it for ages. I fell in love with this girl. To me she was an example of courage and I said to myself: if I make a first feature I want it to be about her. (…) I wanted the audience to understand what it’s like to be born in a body that’s not yours” says Lukas Dhont about his first feature film Girl.
The film dwells on the determined 15-year-old Lara who is committed to becoming a professional ballerina. With the support of her father, she throws herself into this quest for the absolute at a new school. Lara’s 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. Adolescence is inevitably turbulent, and one of its cruelest paradoxes is the way society pushes us to be exceptional (who doesn’t want to feel special?) at the same time that insecure/jealous peers reinforce the idea that it will all pass easier if we just keep our heads down. Add to that the complication of feeling as though you were born with the wrong gender, and those years are sure to be confusing: How to stand out and blend in at the same time?