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Yorgos Lanthimos (#110 of 8)

56th New York Film Festival Unveils Main Slate: Barry Jenkins, Claire Denis, Alex Ross Perry, Jean-Luc Godard in Lineup

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56th New York Film Festival Unveils Main Slate: Barry Jenkins, Claire Denis, Alex Ross Perry, Jean-Luc Godard in Lineup

Thunderbird Releasing

56th New York Film Festival Unveils Main Slate: Barry Jenkins, Claire Denis, Alex Ross Perry, Jean-Luc Godard in Lineup

Today, the Film Society of Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival announced its main slate of films for this year's event. On July 18, the festival announced Roma, Alfonso Cuarón's first film since Gravity, as its centerpiece selection. Since then, Yorgos Lanthithos's The Favourite was announced as the opening-night film and Julian Schnabel's At Eternity's Gate, about the last days of Vincent van Gogh and starring Willem Dafoe in the leading role, as the festival's closer. Below is the full lineup of 30 films from 22 countries.

Watch the Teaser Trailer for Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite with Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz

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Watch the Teaser Trailer for Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite with Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Watch the Teaser Trailer for Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite with Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz

The latest from Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite, takes us to the early 18th century, when England and France are at war. Not exactly the ideal time for levity, but this being a film from the Greek Weird Wave auteur behind Dogtooth and The Lobster, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. The film follows a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), who sits on the throne of the England and sees her relationship to her friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), tested upon the arrival of Sarah’s cousin, Abigail (Emma Stone).

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Yorgos Lanthimos’s Killing of a Sacred Deer

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Cannes Film Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

A24

Cannes Film Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

A blackly comic performance by Colin Farrell provides the emotional anchor for Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer. As clinically detached surgeon Steven Murphy, Farrell effortlessly switches from arch, quasi-robotic line readings to frantic, plate-smashing furor. His skillful transition from deep-in-denial emotional repression to manic rage is crucial to the film’s success, as Lanthimos and co-screenwriter Efthymis Filippou’s characters don’t talk like anyone you’ve ever met in real life.

When Steven, his family, and a mysterious friend, Martin (Barry Keoghan), speak to each other, they fixate on nothing of real importance. They dwell on trivial subjects, and the questions they ask each other—about everything from gauging someone’s fondness for lemonade to whether or not someone else prefers leather or metal as a watchstrap—are bleakly funny when you consider that the film begins with a confrontationally gross close-up of a beating human heart, exposed during one of Steven’s characteristically dangerous procedures. It’s clear right away that this atmospheric horror-thriller’s dramatic stakes are as high as life and death. So why is it that these characters can’t stop talking about food and household chores?

Cannes Film Festival 2015 The Lobster

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Cannes Film Festival 2015: The Lobster
Cannes Film Festival 2015: The Lobster

Yorgos Lanthimos’s films live and die by their concepts—or gimmicks, depending on your outlook. But while the conceptual framework of his fourth feature, The Lobster, shows little sign of innovation, the size of the canvas most certainly does. Working outside Greece for the first time, and with the potential pitfalls of a larger budget and a star-studded cast, Lanthimos navigates the tricky task of upsizing with aplomb, even if the felicitous expansion can’t quite mask the whiff of over-familiarity.

A wonderfully deadpan Colin Farrell leads the viewer into the high-concept arena step by step so that the proliferation of puckish parameters doesn’t get out of hand. His paunchy sad-sack David has just been left by his wife of 12 years, with little time being wasted before he’s rounded up and taken to the Hotel. Once there, he and the other singleton guests must meet and fall in love with someone new within the first 45 days or face being transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into the unforgiving Woods outside. The stately, exclusive, yet still oddly dowdy Hotel exudes much the same feeling of quiet despair and bygone glory as its hapless inhabitants, though beneath the brown furnishings and fussy decor lies steel. Rules pervade every waking moment, proselytizing seminars extol the virtues of coupledom, and infractions of any kind can and will be punished. Aside from finding the “one,” the only hope of prolonging this hushed agony is to perform well in the nightly hunts in the Woods, where knocking out one of the Loners, an equally regimented group committed to total chastity, will gain you one extra day of freedom.

The San Francisco International Film Festival 2012: Alps, The Day He Arrives, The Sheik and I, Twixt, & More

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The San Francisco International Film Festival 2012: <em>Alps</em>, <em>The Day He Arrives</em>, <em>The Sheik and I</em>, <em>Twixt</em>, & More
The San Francisco International Film Festival 2012: <em>Alps</em>, <em>The Day He Arrives</em>, <em>The Sheik and I</em>, <em>Twixt</em>, & More

Rounding out its 55th year, the generally celebratory San Francisco International Film Festival seemed to open on a melancholy note, with the deaths of two illustrious film-culture stalwarts still fresh in the memories of local cinephiles: Graham Leggat, who had since 2005 been the San Francisco Film Society’s executive director, succumbed to cancer last year; and Bingham Ray, a veteran force in the indie circuit who’d agreed to take over the position, passed away in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Just as Nietzsche envisioned art as “the redeeming, healing enchantress” that could confront despair, it was up to cinema then to alleviate the event’s potentially mournful mood. Indeed, the titles chosen to pay tribute to the two men—Benoit Jacquot’s unusual Versailles-set drama Farewell, My Queen, which opened the festival in dedication to Leggat, and Carol Reed’s sardonic 1949 masterpiece The Third Man, reportedly Ray’s all-time favorite film—served as reminders not only of SFIFF’s characteristically eclectic selection, but also of its dedication to acknowledging the medium’s past while steadfastly gazing ahead for discoveries.

New Directors/New Films 2011: Curling

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New Directors/New Films 2011: <em>Curling</em>
New Directors/New Films 2011: <em>Curling</em>

The last several years have seen the influx of a number of films about characters shielding either themselves or their families from the alleged dangers of the world, confining their lives to a greater or lesser degree to the relative safety of the domestic fortress. Call it Shut-In Cinema. To Ursula Meier’s Home, Anders Edström and C. W. Winter’s The Anchorage, Yorgos Lanthimos’s Dogtooth, and Bong Joon-ho’s segment in the anthology film Tokyo!, we can now add Denis Côté’s Curling, making its New York debut at New Directors/New Films. Rivaling The Anchorage, the best of the above listed works, in its combination of utter precision of detail and overwhelming sense of mystery, Côté’s film makes for instructive comparison with the movie it most superficially resembles, Lanthimos’s celebrated tale of overprotective parenting gone bonkers.