Festival: Review of Yorgos Lanthimos’ film “Poor Things” with Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe (Official Competition) – #Venice2023

From Venice by Fernando E. Juan Lima


Posted on 09-01-2023

Greek directors of films like Kineta (2005), pointed teeth (2009), Alps (2011), prawn fish (2015), sacrificial deer (2017) and Favorite (2018) premiered as a retrofuturist comedy with Mostra in the lead, a far cry from the misogyny of his previous filmography.

poor creatures ,poor things, UK/2023). Direction: Yorgos Lanthimos. Cast: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Rémy Youssef, Christopher Abbott, Suzy Bemba, Jerrod Carmichael, Katherine Hunter, Vicki Pepperdine, Margaret Qualley and Hannah Shigulla. Screenplay: Tony McNamara, based on the novel by Alasdair Gray. Photography: Robbie Ryan Editing: Yorgos Mavropsaridis. Production Design: James Price and Shona Heath. Music: Jerskin Fendrix. Duration: 141 minutes. in official competition.

There is something juvenile in many of the films presented in the official competition of the 80th edition of the Venice Festival. something is evident in the criminal drift of the protagonist of dog keeperFrom terror and grotesque to the image of Pinochet, by Luc Besson countby Pablo Larraín, but also in the last bouted by Georges Lanthimos. I’m not talking about the movies the teens live in, nor the point of view of the person who drives the plot. There is some need to speak up and show ownership, to raise one’s voice that is closer to anger than critical analysis. This shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a negative element, I’m just pointing out a fact that needs to be thought through with more time and detail.

In poor creatures , poor things, Lanthimos returns to what constitutes the brand of his style: a focused and purportedly objective look (cool or scientific, others would point out) at a specific object that is analyzed with logic, combined with other elements. The lack of correlation with calls for isolation and intrigue. Tantra repeats itself: a hypothesis is raised, some rules are established, and then they are applied literally. It is this consistent and constructed lack of context that has created the aura of philosophical depth that many believe they find in his work. It is present in this feature film, but at the same time, humor appears as before. Humor that stems not from discomfort, nonsense or provocation but from a specific and concerted quest to engage in comedy in some way.

Of course, the slogan, as in every Lanthimos film, couldn’t be simpler. with elements and climate that refer to both frankenstein Like Dr. Moreau’s Island, the Greek filmmaker creates a story in which Bella Baxter (the always amazing Emma Stone) may experience something like another life. We learn information from what Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe, effortlessly cool in his role as mad doctor, genius and Bella’s supposed father) is telling us. The aesthetics and art design, the use of ultra-wide lenses (the fisheye camera) and the creation of an uncertain timeline in which elements of the past come together with touches of the future enhance the allegorical tone of the story.

A tale of growth and revenge, road movie and weird remarriage comedy, the usual ingredients don’t hide the film’s political will. On the contrary, it is clear (and the director stated this at the press conference following the world premiere) that the intention is to denounce the place women were given in the Victorian era but also in society in general. So far in the 20th century and 21st century. The director’s usual brutality takes on a more playful tone here, in which the undercutting of the line prevails, using (fortunately) a brilliant device of humour. I understand that the problem (as it does with all of the movies mentioned in the first paragraph, in some way or the other) has nothing to do with what is said or not said, but with what was said. It needs to be underlined, so that it can be exaggerated. discourse.

Beyond these excesses, more than two hours poor creatures They move with an unusual lightness in Lanthimos’ cinema. Along with the aforementioned Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, Ramy Youssef and Hannah Chaigula are interspersed with some moments of comedy. We should thank (also for) feminism for contributing to a compassionate film in which the director Favorite He seems to love some of his creatures and even surprises us with some of the same Happy Ending,

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