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Greek glitz at the Cannes Film Festival

16 May 2015 / 21:05:31  GRReporter
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All the stars of the new Giorgos Lanthimos film, ''The Lobster'' – Rachel Weisz, Colin Farrell, Lea Seydoux, Angeliki Papoulias, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw gathered in front of camera flashes in Cannes, at the official premiere of the film. This is the first film by a Greek director to participate in the competition since Theo Angelopoulos presented ''Eternity and a Day'' 17 years ago. The actors participated in the conference, and in the evening before the screening came back on the red carpet with the film’s authors.

Colin Farrell and Giorgos Lanthimos at the press conference

The first reviews in the international media are encouraging. The Guardian gave the film 3 out of 5 stars and described it as ‘pleasantly strange’, but objected against its somewhat uninspiring end.

The film is co-produced by Ireland, Greece, France, the Netherlands and the UK. It is an unconventional love story set in an unspecified place in the near future. In accordance with the rules of the City, all single people are rounded up and transferred to the Hotel where they have to find a suitable partner within 45 days. Unless they do so, they will be transformed into an animal of their choice and be released in the woods. A desperate man escapes from the hotel into the woods where solitary animals live, and falls in love out there, thus flouting the rules.

''The Lobster'' is Lanthimos’ fourth film after ''Kinetta'', ''Dogtooth'' (which participated in ''Un Certain Regard'' at the Cannes festival  in 2009), and Alps. The film is his third collaboration with screenwriter Efthymis Filippou, with whom he won the prize for best screenplay for Alps at the Venice International Film Festival.

At the press conference Lanthimos spoke about the the film’s ideas:

"As soon as we are done with a film, Efthymis Filippou and myself begin talking about the next one. And this time too we chatted about whatever popped up in our heads, about situations, themes, human relations, in a romantic way. We worked together and made the movie. We decided to voice it in English, because after a couple of films in Greece I wanted to do something bigger, and in Greece the way one can make movies is somewhat limited. "

Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell

"This film is just like the rest we did together, only this time we paid a lot! We had a good deal of artistic licence, and we did what we wanted. The producers fully supported me, but it was a different experience for the country where it was shot, but with the same artistic approach. Nowadays people live and work all over the place. And it's easier to make a movie in English with higher funding than in Greece. "

Asked about the influences on his film, Lanthimos said he watched a lot of movies, and of course, film traditions and pop culture passed through his work. He added: "Yet the morality and philosophy of some filmmakers influenced me more than their films. And if I have to be honest, while preparing for ''The Lobster'', what I watched all the time was the British reality show ''The Hotel''.

Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly

As to whether he would make another film in Greece Lanthimos said: "Why not? I actually didn't know this film would be made in Ireland. Making a film is something unpredictable. I have no specific plans now, but I would make a film in Greece again whenever I feel this is the right thing to do, nothing is excluded."

The actors also spoke about the film. John C. Reilly said: "I realise whether I like a script by how quickly I read it. I was already a fan of Giorgos’, then I read ''The Lobster'' straight away, it struck me as very intuitive and funny, but also very honest, with a sense of absurdity - something I appreciate in pictures."

Ben Whishaw

The seductive Lea Seydoux qualified the scenario as "unique, original, using a special cinematic language, another universe." "I like what it says about human relationships and the absurdity of our universe. At the same time, it is romantic and poignant. Its naturalism, and the way it uses the actors, remind me of Bresson," she added.

Angeliki Papoulias said: "every time I read a new film script by Giorgos, it surprises me. This was so funny and lively and sweet, I really loved it. In each of his films, I try to erase acting, I try to be present and react in a simple and immediate way, without rationalising the characters, leaving things open, to make them that bit more ambiguous."

Angeliki Papoulias

The film’s big star, Colin Farrell, said: "This is a unique and special film. I had seen ''Dogtooth'' in Philadelphia, it came across as both touching and disturbing, I understood neither that nor this one. But this is the movie most open to interpretations among the ones I've done; this is a bizarre world, with all the restrictions or freedoms of its own rules. I spoke with Giorgos on Skype for an hour, and in all that time we only said a few words, it was both embarrassing and wonderful. "

Tags: Cannes Film Festival Giorgos Lanthimos The Lobster Colin Farrell Rachel Weisz Lea Seydoux
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