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Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015: #4. Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster

The Lobster

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos // Writers: Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos

With his third feature, 2009’s Dogtooth, Yorgos Lanthimos became the forefront of what’s coming to be known as the Greek Weird Wave, a handful of cutting edge, strange, and sometimes violent films from a country recently in the midst of extreme economic upheaval. Lanthimos took home the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes that year, following a slowly building buzz that would eventually earn the film an Oscar nod for Best Foreign Language film the following year. Next, Lanthimos debuted another bizarre, expressly beautiful rumination on guilt with 2011’s ALPS, nabbing Best Screenplay in Venice. Lanthimos also starred in Athina Rachel Tsnagari’s 2010 Attenberg. Now, he reunites with his ALPS screenwriter for his English language debut, The Lobster, which has also been described as a case-study for inventive co-productions, with British, French, Greece, and Dutch money financing a production that would nab the likes of Seydoux, Farrell, Weisz, and Reilly, as long as reunite Lanthimos with Ariane Labed and his muse, Aggeliki Papoulia. Following on the heels of Blue is the Warmest Color, it was a mild 2014 for Lea Seydoux, since the Christophe Gans re-do of Beauty and the Beast has yet to play in the US, and roles in new titles rom Wes Anderson and Bertrand Bonello were rather minor accents. With this film, Jacquot’s Diary of a Chambermaid and, of course, the new Bond film, the coming year should be quite a memorable one for Seydoux fans. As for The Lobster, it’s described as a love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel, they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal and released into the woods. Like his last two features, this promises to be original, offbeat, and highly inventive.

Cast: Lea Seydoux, Rachel Weisz, Colin Farrell, Ariane Labed, John C. Reilly, Aggeliki Papoulia, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman

Production Co.: Element Pictures, Faliro House Productions, Haut En Court, Lemming Film, Limp Films, Scarlet Films

U.S. Distributor: Rights available.

Release Date: There was a decent chance this could have turned up in the Berlin line-up, but with no dice on that, we expect Lanthimos to return to Cannes once more. Since the film promises to be a daring genre piece, if Lanthimos doesn’t enter the main comp, he might get the chance to open a side-bar with this title (not unlike Ari Folman’s The Congress opening Director’s Fortnight in 2013).

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Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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