After his feminist Frankenstein remake, director Yorgos Lanthimos was back Friday with a trippy triptych featuring dogs as humans, a finger served with a vegetable and a cocktail called “Emily’s forehead”.

“I always think that we’re pushing things to the extreme,” the 50-year-old Greek filmmaker told AFP before its premiere in the Cannes Film Festival competition.

“But sometimes reality is even crazier than what you’re trying to create.”

The wacky feature, one of 22 competing for the Palme d’Or, is his latest team-up with actor Emma Stone after she won an Oscar for returning from the dead in his steampunk “Poor Things”.

Lanthimos said that, as trust grows between them, the duo has become “more bold and more brave”.

Also returning from “Poor Things” are Willem Dafoe and up-and-coming star Margaret Qualley for an experimental ride in which the same actors morph from one character to the next in three separate stories.

The settings vary from a high-rise office to a pool of sacred tears by the sea, but all focus on a main character – Jesse Plemons (“Breaking Bad”) and then Stone – increasingly losing the plot and driven to murderous distraction.

The occasionally repulsive scenes are balanced by dark humour, notably Dafoe as a creepy guru in an orange speedo and one very shocking home movie that got big laughs at Cannes screenings.

“I thought it was funny and Emma thought it was funny, but we didn’t know if people are going to find it funny,” said Lanthimos.

He developed the script over seven years and shot it while putting the final touches to “Poor Things”.

“I thought, instead of sitting around and going to the VFX once a week, why don’t we go and shoot this thing and then we can finish ‘Poor Things’ and then I can get into editing this one,” he said.

On top of the professional actors, Lanthimos said he enlisted the help of staff and people he met along the way.

“The gynaecologist was a waitress in my hotel. And I thought she was amazing and had an incredible presence,” he said.

The police chief who, deadpan, delivered one of the film’s best lines was a member of staff on set.

“He was our transportation captain. I just needed to include him in the film,” he said.

The director, whose previous works include royal intrigue “The Favourite” that won British actor Olivia Coleman an Oscar in 2019, would not reveal his next project.

But he gave a single clue: “bees”.

Source: AFP