Before the interview, a publicist closes the last details with the editor. And he wishes him well "with the crazy Greek". Yorgos Lanthimos has also been stuck with other labels, such as visionary, intrusive or intense. What does he think? "I think they are all true. People are different and see things differently. Welcome be. Now, affirming that about me without knowing me, for my work, does not seem very valid ". It can, in fact, even be a lie. Because in person Lanthimos is prudent and weighted. Speak slowly, smile without overdoing, measure your words. It turns out that the master of delirium is an artist of balance. And that his films destroy the status quo: of the children of Canine, without contacts with the outside and raised in the belief that cats are killer beasts and the sea is a chair, to the universe of Locust, where singles end up transformed into animals.
"I try to evolve and learn from what I do, change so as not to get bored. For me it is always an experiment. I imagine a situation, I create a story, I film it and I loose it for the world. People do what they want with it. You can not expect a specific reaction or understanding, "says the director (Athens, 1973). Although the truth is that every time a Lanthimos film visits a festival, it takes a prize. So it was with his last creature, The favourite, awarded for the interpretation of Olivia Colman in Venice, where this talk was held. The film arrives today in Spain, after the record of nominations of the British independent film awards, and with a long list of critics surrendered to its brilliance and its three protagonists: Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.
Before, those same experts would be surprised. Lanthimos always creates his projects from scratch, co-writes them with Efhymis Filippou, and focuses them on hitting foundations and certainties of society. The favourite, instead, it comes from other writers, which was proposed a decade ago, and is vintage, more commercial cinema. In eighteenth-century England, two women fight for the attention of Ana, a sensitive, insecure and impulsive queen: they are willing to share their power (and their bed). On a more or less real history, the Greek imprints its stamp with fire: absurdity, black humor, sex, natural light, ducks and rifles. Extreme moments, pure Lanthimos. It is said that all the wigs used on the set had their own name, and that the filmmaker always knew which of the 17 rabbits he needed.
"It would be boring for me to recreate reality in a movie. You make a film to provoke a reaction, whatever it may be. I am interested in pushing the characters to reveal things of human behavior that are not seen every day and stir up people. Then, everything is allowed, there is no good or bad reaction from the audience, "he says. "I only make a movie if I have creative control. If not, I would shoot ads, "he adds. He rolled them, at first. But they served him as a training and box for his movies, what he always wanted In the wake of his admired Tarkovsky, Kubrick and Buñuel. With the surrealist Kinetta, Lanthimos was noted. And with Canine, took off. Locust Y The sacrifice of the sacred deer They gave him stars and visibility. TO The favourite, asks for the consecration as author as talented as it is peculiar.
"I do not think I've ever been shocked," he says. The filmmaker swears that there are no expendable genres, but good and bad films; and that he sees all kinds of movies, including superheroes. There is only one exception: his own works. Lanthimos avoids all previous passes, discovers them at the official premiere, and never again, during "15 years". He also does not enjoy shooting: "The stress on the set is immense. You have a lot of pressure and little time to achieve something that will stay that way forever. " The key, for the Greek, comes much earlier. "The most important thing is to choose the right people, trust them and give them an appropriate space. I take a lot of time to be sure that the actors know my work, want to be part of the project for that reason and we do not get to a situation where they want to work in their own way. All the interpreters of my films were aware of my work ". Your publicists, too.