A BRIEF THOUGHT ON THE GENIUS OF YORGOS LANTHIMOS

lobster

Yesterday I found myself wandering in Central Park and thinking back on THE LOBSTER — easily my favorite film of 2015 so far — and trying to explain to myself what makes Yorgos such a particular sort of genius. The scene that came back to me most vividly is the one where Ben Whishaw’s character gives a speech about how he got his limp: He explains that his mother was turned into a wolf after failing to find a human mate and that, for many years as an adolescent, he would visit her in the zoo, feeding her meat. But, he admits, there were many wolves in the enclosure and he could never be sure which one she was. This started to bother him after a while, so one day he leapt into the enclosure and was immediately mauled. The wolves fell on him, tearing at his flesh and ruining his leg (that’s how he got his limp) … the last thing he remembers before passing out, he says, is that two wolves stood impassively in the background, watching the attack without participating in it. “So I reasoned that one of those two had to be my mother,” he says, completely deadpan.

The presence of such sober, even banal logic within a larger situation that’s totally absurd defines all of Yorgos’ work, at least all that I’ve seen … He gets a very distinct kind of humor and terror by nesting such a rational mindset within such a deranged one, and giving each equal weight in the construction of the film. This is what I love about him.

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