No stranger to the international film festival circuit, Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos is receiving rave early reviews out of this year’s Cannes for The Lobster, his third feature and first with a high-caliber English-speaking cast, including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and Ben Whishaw. The film focuses on a future wherein you either find your mate or you are transformed, inexplicably, into an animal and let out to roam the wilderness. It’s a typical what’s-that-guy-on premise from Lanthimos, who already conquered Cannes years ago when his debut, Dogtooth, nabbed him the Un Certain Regard prize. That film has a major following at this point, not surprising as it marries Michael Haneke‘s formal exactness with dark, deadpan satirical jabs at isolationists that escalate into violence, incense, and self-abuse. His striking sophomore effort, Alps, won screenplay honors at the Venice Film Festival, where it was up for the Golden Lion that, rightly, went to Aleksandr Sokurov‘s magnificent adaptation of Faust.
From the look of the clips for The Lobster, the film boasts the same sort of peerless formal rigor that Lanthimos’ previous films have been known for, and just watching Farrell and Reilly talk about what animals they want to be is enough for me to fork over the independent-theater ticket cost. Fingers crossed that it scores North American distribution rights in the wake of Cannes.
Here’s the official synopsis:
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 escapes from the Hotel to the woods where the Loners live and there he falls in love although it’s against the rules.
Check out the rest of our Cannes coverage here. Watch the two clips from The Lobster below: