Yorgos Lanthimos surprises again with ‘Poor Creatures’

It seems that we already have the movie of the year, it is ‘Poor Creatures’, the fourth collaboration between director Yorgos Lanthimos and actress Emma Stone. A story full of magic and science fiction that tells the story of Bella Baxter (Stone); a pregnant young woman throws herself off a bridge and her body is recovered by a mad scientist (Willem Dafoe), who experiments on her, keeping her alive by transplanting her baby’s brain.

‘Poor Creatures’ is a beautiful, comic and strange reinvention of the Frankenstein tale that gives way to the awakening of primary pleasures and how to enjoy them. Lanthimos received the blessing of the late writer Alasdair Gray to adapt his 1992 novel and began working on the script with screenwriter Tony McNamara while filming The Favourite.

Lanthimos turns Emma Stone into a strange and wild child, or as the director described her in the interview: “a mind that can be free without shame or prejudice. Just experiencing the world on their own terms.”

Without the presence of Emma Stone at the 80th edition of the Venice Film Biennale, due to the actors’ strike in Hollywood, Lanthimos admitted feeling uncomfortable receiving all the prominence of the promotion in front of the press. “She should be here,” he said in reference to her actress. “She should explain why she makes certain decisions when playing the character.”

The Greek director, who surprised everyone with ‘Canino’, began the awards race for ‘The Favorite’ in Venice in 2018. With the film he won the Grand Jury Prize, in addition to the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for Olivia Colman, an award that he would later repeat at the Oscars, where the film received 10 nominations.

It was also the beginning of the reinvention for Emma Stone after winning the Oscar in 2016 for ‘La La Land’. Perhaps for this reason it seemed logical that it was at the Lido where they will present ‘Poor creatures’, their last collaboration together after ‘La Favorita’. They both want this to be the start of a new awards season for both of them. “My film talks about freedom in the way of thinking and seeing the world, about the position of women in society, about the relationships between men and women,” the filmmaker told us.

Lanthimos read the novel in 2011 and has wanted to adapt it ever since. Stone’s involvement also goes back a long way, since she told him about the project at the end of the filming of ‘La Favourite’ and since then she has been interested. “Emma has been informed of the entire process and I think that this has helped her because in some way she has had the character in mind all this time,” revealed the director, who kept pointing out his surprise at having to speak on behalf of the actress. Unlike the novel, the film’s narration focuses solely on Bella Baxter’s point of view, “that mind that can start from scratch, completely free, without shame or prejudice,” Lanthimos said.

The plot begins in London, in the house and workshop of the surgeon who brings her back to life and where a first stage of discoveries takes place, until Bella’s desire for emancipation arises and she embarks on a journey with a libertine lawyer whom she gives life a hilarious Mark Ruffalo.

“My film talks about freedom in the way of thinking and seeing the world, about the position of women in society, about the relationships between men and women.”

— Yorgos Lanthimos, Greek film director

Lanthimos himself spoke of the actress and the sex scenes; “It was very important to me not to make a film that was prudish, because it would be like completely betraying the main character. “We had to be sure that Emma should not be ashamed of her body, her nudity or participating in those scenes, and she understood that immediately,” he added.

Sex plays an important role in ‘Poor Babies’ and the upbringing of young Bella who learns what she likes and dislikes through trial and error. “It’s strange, isn’t it? Why is there no sex in the movies? Lanthimos asked. “It’s a shame that Emma can’t be here with us to talk more about this because it’s weird that it’s just me explaining it. First, sex is an intrinsic part of the novel: its freedom includes sexuality. And secondly, it was very important to me not to make a simple film because it would completely betray the main character. We had to be confident and that the character didn’t know what it was like to be ashamed. Emma does not have to be ashamed of her body, of her nudity, or of participating in those scenes”.

In addition, during the filming they had an intimacy coordinator. “At first this profession seemed threatening to most filmmakers, but it’s like everything, if you find a good professional, you realize that you really need them,” confessed the director. Lanthimos displays a visual exuberance in the construction of sets that turns Lisbon, Paris or London into dystopian versions of themselves. “The first thing I do is see what the story asks of me, but it is true that in cinematographic terms I am interested in developing a style and taking it further in each film. It was about doing something different, a world suitable for her could not be the world as we know it” shared the Greek.

Black humor, a touch of perversion and the absurd are also elements of a filmography that grows with each film. In ‘Poor Creatures’ Lanthimos offers the best version of himself to the delight of the public. “I feed on what I observe, read and imagine, there is something absurd in all human behavior, and in sexuality too, it seems natural to me” he concluded.

8.2

10 points is the rating that 250 users of the specialized IDMB portal gave to the film.

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