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Yorgos Lanthimos: Bigger Than Life

His films: weird, weirder, weirdest...

If there is one director who deserves to be called 'original', it is Yorgos Lanthimos. Trained at the Athens Film Academy, Lanthimos began his career as a maker of dance and music videos, commercials and short films, among others. He made his first feature film in 2001 and his second in 2005, films that went rather unnoticed. But in 2009 he managed to attract international attention with Dogtooth, a very unusual family drama he co-wrote with Efthimis Filippou, his regular screenwriter with whom he would collaborate several more times. Since then, Lanthimos has not disappeared from the international stage - all his subsequent films have been highly original and extremely successful; so far, his films have garnered over a hundred minor and major film awards. He owes this in part to the excellent actors he regularly works with, including Collin Farrell, Olivia Colman, Emma (Emily) Stone, Rachel Weisz and Willem Dafoe.

What makes his films so special? It is not so much in the themes he tackles; the ups and downs of a family, the difficulties of finding a life partner, the indulgence of feelings of revenge, loyalty and betrayal, a woman's desire to develop (sexually) - interesting but not heaven-sent. Lanthimos' films are special because of the way he depicts these themes. In his film universe, everything is pulled into the absurd, it is a place where hyperbole rules, where characters are bigger-than-life, where everything that happens to them is as bizarre as it is unimaginable. It makes his films as (black) comic as they are tragic - life sucks. This, combined with the often beautiful design and, as mentioned, the excellent acting, makes Lanthimos' films more than special.

And he is not sitting still. On 4 July, his new film will be released: Kinds of Kindness, a triptych with the same actors each time, including Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe, based on a screenplay by himself and Filippou. A week later, the aforementioned Dogtooth will be re-released. All the more reason for Rialto to also re-screen his four other major films: The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Favourite and Poor Things. Of course, his new film can also be seen at Rialto.

From 11 July at Rialto De Pijp and Rialto VU.