The New York Times magazine’s front page is dedicated to Υorgos Lanthimos, in an article titled “Yorgos Lanthimos’s Polarizing Visions”. Journalist, Alexandra Kleeman, met the Greek director during the “Bergman Week” held in Ingmar Bergman’s former home in Faro, a remote Swedish island full of dairy businesses and ancient limestone monuments, which has a population of 500 on its own their dialect. Lathimos was invited to speak at the annual festival, during which cinema lovers attend lectures and screenings and participate in the “Bergman Safari”, a tour of various locations where the Swedish director filmed scenes for his films.
“Ingmar Bergman might well have recognized the deep curiosity that drives these films: Like Bergman, Lanthimos is fascinated by the drive for control — in both its mundanities and extremes — and by the inscrutability of human behavior. But if Bergman’s work elevates these struggles to the realm of the metaphysical, Lanthimos’s approach is less lofty, ballasted by blood and grit. An ordinary toaster becomes a device for punishment; a woman is ferried to an ophthalmologist’s office in order to be blinded for her transgressions against the community”, writes Kleeman.
“The atmosphere he creates has more in common with an experimental theater troupe than a typical multimillion-dollar movie set. Lanthimos works to bring an actor’s instincts to the surface — and he shrugs off questions about a character’s psychological motivation, back story and context as effortlessly as he does questions about himself. “If you want to annoy him, ask him character back-story questions,” Colin Farrell told me, laughing, of his first experience working with Lanthimos on the set of “The Lobster,” where Lanthimos refused to tell him what happened in the scene before the one they were filming. “He doesn’t really feel the need, you know. For him a story is born and dies between the first and last page”, continues Kleeman in her article.
At the same time, the Greek director’s latest film, “The Favourite” continues its success as it features on Time magazine’s “10 best films for 2018” list. The film tells the story of Queen Anna and her relationship with her two cousins, Sarah and Abigail. Contemporary dialogues, raw humor, breakdance and subversive filming techniques are some of the film’s key features that sets it apart from the classic period dramas. “The Favourite” has won the Grand Jury prize at the Venice Festival and has received excellent reviews. The film is expected to come out in Greece on January 2019.