Close, a Belgian coming of age drama, is the winner of the 2023 LUX Audience Award.
After a very tight race and a record number of ratings - more than 45,000 - from film lovers across the EU, Close, directed by Lukas Dhont, was awarded the prize in a ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The film, co-produced by Belgium, France and Netherlands, tells the story of a close bond between Leo and Remi, two 13-year-old boys and what happens when it is disrupted. It is a powerful story touching upon themes such as friendship, intimacy and responsibility, told with great emotion and tenderness.
Director Dhont and Angelo Tijssens, co-writer of the film accepted the award.
The other short-listed films were Alcarràs by Carla Simón Pipó, Burning Days by Emin Alper, Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund, and Will-o'-the-Wisp by João Pedro Rodrigues.
Read more about the five finalists of the LUX Audience Award 2023
Organised by the Parliament and the European Film Academy in partnership with the European Commission and Europa Cinema, the award combines the votes of the public with those of MEPs - each group weighing 50%.
The award ceremony
Opening the prize ceremony, Parliament President Roberta Metsola emphasised the uniqueness of filmmaking in Europe and its capacity to reach hearts and move souls across language barriers.
Accepting the award, Dhont said: “Five films that each in their own way talk about us humans, our paradoxes and our inconsistencies. (...) Thank you to all the Europeans who went out to see these films. The attempt to connect to every individual audience member is our true desire, our motor in life.”
Find out about the 2022 winner of the LUX Audience Award