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Eccentric Cinematic Treats for Admirers of Yorgos Lanthimos

Famed Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos has carved a niche for himself in the realm of cinema with his unconventional and often disconcerting storytelling. His applauded works in English, such as The Lobster and The Favourite, along with his Greek masterpieces like Dogtooth and Alps, all bear his distinctive filmmaking signature. Despite the range of characters and scenarios, his films consistently feature dark comedy and sparse dialogue, contributing to a somber, yet wry tone that aligns with the so-called Greek Weird Wave. For those who appreciate Lanthimos’ unique vision, here are five films to explore, including two from his own filmography.

Beast (2017)

Michael Pearce’s directorial debut, Beast, is a British drama that snagged a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut and chronicles life on the bucolic yet remote Jersey island. The story centers on Moll (Jessie Buckley), a tour guide chafing under the yoke of her affluent and oppressive family, who hint at her troubled past. After a night out, she crosses paths with Pascal (Johnny Flynn), a poacher with a shadowy aura. Despite her family’s objections and suspicions that Pascal could be linked to a series of murders, Moll is infatuated. Audiences familiar with Lanthimos’ style will recognize the tense atmosphere and frank dialogue of Beast set against a beautiful and insular locale.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Killing of a Sacred Deer weaves a nightmarish suburban fable centered on the Murphy family. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell), a surgeon and father, encounters Martin (Barry Keoghan), a teen grappling with his father’s accidental death—a death tangentially linked to Steven. The film’s unsettling narrative is matched by stark imagery and sterile environments, heightening the tension. The characters’ unconventional speech patterns serve both to disorient and provide a lens through which the story’s deeper meanings are magnified and examined.

The French Dispatch (2021)

Wes Anderson, much like Lanthimos, asserts a strong directorial voice, imbuing his films with a distinct visual flair. While Anderson’s cinema is awash with vivid colors, Lanthimos’ often feels stark and bare. In The French Dispatch, Anderson offers a patchwork narrative about a fictional newspaper staff in a foreign town, inviting Lanthimos’ fans to savor its intricate plots and Spartan, surreal dialogue. Reporters delve into a palette of human experiences, painting a tale that’s at once whimsical, introspective, and richly visual.

The Lobster (2015)

In another entry from Lanthimos, The Lobster presents a gripping narrative where David (Colin Farrell) is thrust into a dystopian scenario: find love within forty-five days or be transformed into an animal—his choice, a lobster. The film inspects the extremes to which individuals will go for companionship, resorting to bizarre, superficial connections. Set against a chilling social backdrop, the narrative probes themes of societal expectation, human coupling, and the dichotomy between freedom and conformity.

Sometimes Always Never (2018)

Crafted with a distinct blend of visual styles, Carl Hunter’s Sometimes Always Never unfurls the bittersweet narrative of a family communicating primarily through Scrabble. Anchored by Alan (Bill Nighy), a father obsessed with the online version of the game in hopes of reconnecting with his missing son, the film navigates through themes of grief and fractured familial bonds. The characters’ clipped and intellectual discourse echoes Lanthimos’ style, making this quirky and poignant film a thoughtful addition to the list of must-watch films for his fans.

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