Movies

Revisiting Yorgos Lanthimos’ Work

If nothing else, Yorgos Lanthimos has proved that he is one of the most unique voices in filmmaking today. Very few filmmakers can claim that they’ve made this big of a mark on cinema this early on in their career. With rave review pouring in for his new film, The Favourite, it seems as though Lanthimos has hit a home run once again. With The Favourite releasing this weekend, here are three Lanthimos films to watch in preparation for the film:

Dogtooth (2009)

Synopsis: Three teenagers live isolated, without leaving their house, because their over-protective parents say they can only leave when their dogtooth falls out. (IMDB)

Starring: Christos Stergioglou, Angeliki Papoulia, and Hristos Passalis

Writers: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Rating: R (Canada)

Running Time: 94mins

Trailer:

Dogtooth, the film that shot Lanthimos into the spotlight, is perhaps his strangest and darkest film to date. It tells the story of two parents, who force their children to live within the confines of their home, without exposure to the real world outside. As you can tell from just the premise, the story gets intense once the tensions start to build. Like this other films, Lanthimos has a clear direction he wants to go in with Dogtooth, and yields to no one.

He shows with Dogtooth that he is uncompromising, and willing to disturb and shock audiences. Dogtooth was an important step in Lanthimos’ career – it established him as a notable director, while letting everyone know that his style may not be for everyone.


The Lobster (2015)

Synopsis: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. (IMDB)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and John C. Reilly

Writers: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)

Running Time: 119mins

Trailer:

The Lobster still represents everything weird and quirky about Lanthimos’ filmmaking, without disturbing audiences to the same degree as Dogtooth did. Yes, there are still some very disturbing scenes in The Lobster, but in terms of his past and future work, it seems like its a notch down from the others. The film follows the journey of David (Farrell), whose wife has just left him for another man. In this dystopian world, individuals are turned into animals if they are not able to find a mate within a set number of days – hence the title, The Lobster. The creativity from Lanthimos, not only in direction but also in writing, is undeniably refreshing. He infuses The Lobster, which is technically a “romance,” with techniques that have never been used in the genre before. Of course, it’s bizarre, scary, and hard to look at for parts of the film. Yet, that’s exactly what audiences have come to expect when they see the words “Yorgos Lanthimos” on the screen.


Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

Synopsis: Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister. (IMDB)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, and Nicole Kidman

Writers: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Rating: 18A (Canada)/R (United States)

Running Time: 121mins

Trailer:

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is Lanthimos’ most recent film, and it’s his most mature film to date. After directing The Lobster, he returns to a style that is more reminiscent of DogtoothThe Killing of a Sacred Deer is, through and through, a horror film. The events that unfold, the uncertainty behind the characters’ fate, and the fear the antagonist causes feel terrifyingly real. It challenges the audience, and plays out as a demented commentary on human nature. It’s horrifying and disturbing, but in an unconventional sense. You won’t see ghosts popping out, or excessive gore. The thing that Lanthimos uses in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, much like his other films, is atmosphere. You can’t help but feel uncomfortable throughout the film, but you also can’t turn away. With The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lanthimos has truly mastered his craft.


The Favourite stars Emma Stone, Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz, and it’s set to open in select theatres in Canada this weekend.

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