“An unconventional love story set in a dystopian near future where single people, according to the rules of the Town, are arrested and transferred to the Hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released in the woods.”
A desperate man, played by Colin Farrell, escapes from the Hotel to the woods where the Loners live and there he falls in love with Rachel Weisz’s character, although it’s against the rules.
The lead character decides he would like to become a lobster, which adds a sense of exaggeration and satire to what would otherwise be a drama.
This is the synopsis of the promising comedy-drama The Lobster, directed by the talented and unconventional Yorgos Lanthimos, co-written with Efthimis Filippou, with whom he penned the Oscar-nominated Dogtooth, which won the top Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes, and his first blockbuster, Alps, which won the Venice Film Festival Screenplay Award.
The Lobster screened in Cannes on 15 May and the first impressions by the critics were rave reviews, praising the directing team and the actors’ performances.
Yorgos Lathimos has undoubtedly created his own ‘school’, as his groundbreaking scenarios and minimalist filming techniques have gained many followers worldwide.
“We have a certain kind of tone in our films that strikes a balance between very dark situations and absurd and humorous ones. So I guess this is no different in that respect,” Yorgos Lanthimos told the press after the screening.
Lanthimos and Filippou follow a creative process based on ‘friendly conversation’. The duo very often sits down together and starts discussing potential movie themes, things that they are interested in, until random words and feelings evolve into productive brainstorming sessions.
“It is always a process of someone saying something, and the other one evolving it, and coming up with a story idea, and the other one coming up with a character idea,” Lanthimos explained.
“I’m already writing another script with Efthimis Filippou, and I’m also developing a period film. I don’t know which will come first.”
Even though all their previous productions follow the same ‘naked’ and dark aesthetic, there is an element of social satire to The Lobster story.
“I see it as a ‘love story’, albeit one set in a crazy parallel world where different rules apply.
“It’s about people being in couples, being single, about being in love, or not being in love, about being in relationships,” he added.
“It delivers a warts-and-all view of relationships. It’s an honest portrayal. The way we see and explore it, it is neither positive nor negative.”
The film mainly focuses on human interactions, and Hollywood stars Olivia Colman, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly create engaging and strong personas perplexing the plot around the two protagonists.
“The whole thing is an exaggeration of what we observe in daily life,” Lanthimos continued.
“Taking all these behaviors, codes, pressures, norms and rules that we have, and observing them in a more exaggerated way, and seeing where that leaves us.
“Life for single people in our world can be tough after a certain age, as there is always an awkwardness in social relationships between single people and couples.”
The director/writer has created two diverse coexisting universes which often collide in a very elegant way that makes the audience take a deeper look within, while following the funny and unexpected series of events, waiting for Colin Farrell to transform into a lobster, justifying Lanthimos’ eccentric story.
*Jacques Audiard, director of Dheepan was this year’s Palme d’Or winner. The film tells the story of a former Tamil Tiger who flees Sri Lanka and pretends, with two strangers, to be a family in order to gain asylum in France.