Yorgos Lanthimos

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Greek writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos (1973)
Yorgos Lanthimos
Yorgos Lanthimos

Uranisco Disco (2001)

Kinnetta (2005)

Kynodontas (2009)

Alpeis/ Alps (2011)

Langosta/ The Lobster (2015) is a cryptic double-dystopiac allegory. The helpless protagonist is caged first in a Western-like dystopian society in which human relationships have been reduced to rules and regulations; and then he falls into a communist-style dystopian society in which his identity is reduced to obeying orders. The punishment for disobedience in the former is being deprived of humanity, and in the latter it is blindness. One doesn't know which one was better/worse.

A woman who is driving through a rural area stops the car, walks out with a gun and shoots an animal. (This scene is never explained in the rest of the film).
A man sitting on a couch talks to a female voice, who becomes the narrating voiceover, and someone rings a bell. He thinks his wife doesn't love him anymore. He and his dog is taken by an ambulance-looking coach into some kind of hospital/hotel where all new guests are asked to strip half-naked and are given strict instructions. He introduces his dog as his brother, who stayed at the same hotel but "didn't make it". He looks outside the window and sees a number of apparently dead bodies and the people who shot them "dead" (actually, just with tranquillizer guns). For each "loner" (person who doesn't have a sexual partner) that they shoot "dead" they get an extra day of stay: when they run out of days, they turn into the animal that they chose when they arrived. He chooses to be a lobster. The way to avoid turning into an animal is to find a partner within 45 days (plus whatever days they accrue during the hunting parties). Then they can move to the matrimonial rooms. The hotel's maid and the butler are dressed with the usual hotel uniforms, but they act more like prison guards. The maid has a French accent. The first night she handcuffs him to the belt of his pants. In the morning all the guests consume their breakfast in the restaurant just like in an ordinary hotel. He notices a woman with short hair who is known to be absolutely heartless. He notices a young woman who suffers from nosebleeds. Two male guests invite him for a walk to the sea. The guests of the hotel give talks, dance, chat. The young woman with short hair whohas no feelings shuns everybody. The protagonist, David, but mostly known as "Room 101", invites the nosebleeding girl to dance, and her blood stains his white shirt. His two male friends invite her female friends to dance. All the lone guests are given a tranquillizer gun and taken by bus to the hunting ground where they are allowed to shoot each other. Depending on how many people they "kill", the number of days that they can stay "loners" (i.e. postpone being turned into animals) increases. The maid coldly performs an odd way of masturbation on him every night. One of David's friends, caught masturbating by himself, is punished by inserting his hand into a toaster. A sexually-frustrated suicidal woman starts talking to David on the bus, offering to give him a blow job: she is clearly desperate to avoid being turned into an animal. He coldly thanks her and tries to ignore her. The other friend of David, not wanting to be turned into an animal, pretends to have nosebleeding in order to seduce the nosebleeding girl. In reality, he slams his nose on hard surfaces to make it bleed; but it is still better than being turned into an animal. This new couple is publicly announced on the stage of the hotel and they are moved to a double room. The hotel manager congratulates them and the other guests clap, but they are also warned that they will be monitored carefully. Finding a mate is the only way to avoid becoming an animal, so the motivation to cheat is high. There's a point during which the guest spends her or his last day as a human being before beginning her or his life as the animal that she or he has chosen. It is now the turn of the nosebleeding girl's best friend. Then she turns into a horse (literally) and is taken away. The suicidal woman jumps from a window, trying to kill herself. Now David begins to feel the pressure find his mate so he doesn't turn into a lobster. He starts flirting with the short-haired woman who has no feelings. In order to win her over, he has to pretend that he too is heartless. They become a couple and are given a key to the double room during the usual public ceremony. In their room they perform sex the same way that the maid was masturbating him. She has absolutely no feelings during sex. He has to continue pretending to have no feelings, otherwise their union would be null and void and he would be turned into a lobster. She kills his dog (that was actually his brother) during the night, and tells him that she did it slowly to maximize the dog's pain. He has to pretend that he doesn't care but then he starts crying, and she immediately decides to report him to the hotel manager for lying. The punishment for lying is to be turned into the animal that noone wants to be. But the French maid saves him and helps him stop his unrelenting vicious "wife" with a tranquillizer gun. David doesn't understand why the maid is helping him and, not trusting her, shoots her a tranquillizer. Then he drags the unconscious body of the short-haired woman into the room where people are turned into animals. He flees the hotel. He sleeps alone in the forest. In the morning he is found by people who are hiding in the forest, led by a beautiful cold blonde woman with a French accent. She welcomes him and tells him that he can remain a "loner" as long as she likes. In fact, there is harsh punishment for having sexual relationships. Now we realize that the narrating voiceover has been one of the women of that group, a beautiful dark-haired woman, who is short-sighted like him. The group practices how to run and hide in order to escape the hunters of the hotel. One day the French maid of the hotel leaves the van that took the hunters in the forest and walks alone smoking a cigarette. David's friend (the one who masturbates) catches David in the woods and is about to shoot him with the tranquillizer (and therefore return him to the hotel) when the beautiful dark-haired woman saves him. Meanwhile, the French maid meets the French blonde leader and they start speaking in French. It turns out that the maid is helping the loners who hide in the woods. The maid, however, tells the blonde that she cannot stand the hotel anymore because the manager's partner, a fat dentist, forces her to floss and brush her teeth. The blonde takes three of the loners (including David and his savior) to the city and to a shopping mall. Police officers interrogate shoppers, obviously looking for them. His savior saves him again. Then the quartet visits the blonde's French parents, who think that their daughter is a busy corporate executive. His savior (the short-sighted woman) pretends to be his wife, and that they have four children. The blonde has been preparing an attack on the hotel. That is the night. David enters the yacht where his friend lives with the nosebleeding girl, and tells the woman that her husband has been lying to her about the nosebleeding. Meanwhile, the blonde and the savior enter the room of the hotel manager and the fat dentist. They force the man to shoot the woman after he has told them that he loves her very much. The hypocrite grabs the pistol and pulls the trigger but there is no bullet. Then, after that strange mission, they all return to the woods. David gets jealous when someone gives rabbits to his savior. He finally kisses her. They cannot do it in public because of the punishment. They work out a secret code of love messages. Her voice keeps narrating the scenes like she has been doing from the beginning. The quartet visits the blonde's father again, and again David and his savior pretend to be husband and wife. In order to escape punishment, they decide to leave the woods and the blonde's group, but the French maid, who now lives with them in the woods, finds a diary that talks about them and reads it to the French blonde. The blonde forces David to dig his own grave and to cover himself with soil. Then she forces his girl to undergo eye surgery. Instead of healing her, the surgeon turns her blind. The blind girl grabs a knife and swears to kill the leader but instead kills the maid and drops the knife thinking that the evil blonde is dead. The blonde then grabs the knife and takes her back to the woods. David is not too shocked by the news. They still decide to run away. One night he attacks the French blonde and dumps her in the grave, bound and gagged, leaving her to be eaten by the dogs while he and his girl walk to the highway. They walk into town. They enter a restaurant. He asks for a sharp knife. He walks into the restrooms and cuts his eyes. The camera shows the table where the woman is sitting and waiting, with a large glass window behind it that lets us see the traffic outside.
(Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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