“Poor creatures”, the new film by Greek Yorgos Lanthimos, starring Emma Stone, has already been presented at the Venice Festival.
The director of “The favourite” (2018) Yorgos Lanthimos has raised the bar on the third day of the Venice Film Festival with “Poor things”, an imaginative gothic fable of women’s liberation that turns Emma Stone into a kind of Frankenstein but a woman, beautiful and thirsty for adventures, especially sexual.
Without Stone’s presence in Venice, due to the actors’ strike in Hollywood, Lanthimos was the protagonist of the press conference to present the film, which aspires to the Golden Lion and was received with loud applause.
“Poor Things” is based on a novel by Scotsman Alasdair Gray about a woman who is brought back to life by a strange surgeon (Willem Dafoe) with unorthodox methods.
“It 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”, summed up the Greek director, who became known in 2009 with the unclassifiable “Dogtooth”.
Lanthimos read the novel in 2011 and has wanted to adapt it ever since. Stone’s involvement also goes back a long way, as he told her about the project at the end of filming “The Favourite” and already then the star of “La la land” was interested.
“She has been informed of the entire process and I think that has helped her because in some way she has had the character in mind all this time,” said the director, who has confessed his surprise at having to speak on behalf of the actress. .
What is “Poor Things” about?
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,” he noted.
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 (Mark Ruffalo), with whom she lives a passionate adventure around the world.
On the abundance of sexual scenes, Lanthimos has explained that they were in the novel. “I didn’t want to make a prudish movie that betrayed the character and Emma was totally committed,” he said.
“The good thing with Emma is that after several films together – they also shot a short, “Bleat” in 2020 – we understand each other almost without speaking, it has been a great experience”, he added.
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 him,” he said.
Behind the scenes of a trip to Europe
Shot on sets, Lanthimos displays a visual exuberance in the construction of sets that turns Lisbon, Paris or London into dystopian versions of themselves, jumping from black and white to colour, from normal to wide-angle lenses.
“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,” he stated. “It was about doing something different, a world that was right for her couldn’t be the world as we know it.”
Black humor, a touch of perversion and the absurd are also elements of his filmography that are repeated in “Poor Things”.
“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 said.