Yorgos Lanthimos: I’m hard on myself

Yorgos Lanthimos doesn’t understand how directors can be proud of their films when all he sees is the mistakes in his work.

The Greek filmmaker is preparing for the release of his first ever English-speaking film, The Lobster, which stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz and explores the topic of relationships. It’s received positive reviews and won several accolades at this year’s (15) Cannes Film Festival, including the Jury Prize. That hasn’t left Yorgos feeling any more confident about his unique directing style though.

“And I think: ‘How the hell is that possible?’” he mused to the Financial Times on how his counterparts react positively to their projects. “When I look at my films, all I see is everything that went wrong. I feel like, ‘You’re happy?’ Don’t you want to make a masterpiece? You see a film by (Ingmar) Bergman or (Luis) Buñuel and say ‘Oh, I’m happy with my film.’ You are? Really?

“I’d like to think we’re doing something a little bit original (with The Lobster). Of course you can’t do anything completely original. It’s instinctive and unconscious. I don’t like to talk about it, because maybe then we will lose it.”

It wasn’t easy for Yorgos to get on the movie-making bandwagon. It was his 2009 movie Dogtooth which propelled his name into the spotlight, but prior to this he had worked on everything from TV adverts to experimental theatre. He struggled to make films in his home country and is grateful to his friends for making it possible.

So it’s a privilege for Yorgos to have landed such an A-list cast for his latest movie, also featuring Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly. Rachel approached him with the intent of working together, while the others were employed after the director watched old interviews of them.

“(I got a) different sense of who they were,” he explained, adding they each had to have seen one of his features. “Since I have a body of work and we are there to get a job done, it’s sensible to make sure an actor knows what it is we actually do.”

– Cover Media