Poor things this is a work about distortion, assemblage and invention, and so it is likely that the film warps and combines to become something breathtakingly unique. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest, premiering at this year’s New York Film Festival (ahead of its theatrical debut on December 8th), is also a myth of creativity that marks a new stage in the acclaimed director’s career, given that it is his first feature-length film dedicated to his creativity. characters not only with bewilderment and ridicule, but, in addition, with respect and love.
A phantasmagoric and bacchanalian odyssey of mind, body and spirit. Poor things– adapted from Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name – is in some respects easily identifiable as the work of Lanthimos. Firstly, it stars him Favorite leading lady Emma Stone. Moreover, we are talking, at least at first glance, about an unusual family unit living in a more or less hermetic environment. And it boasts the director’s wry directorial signature, highlighted by his love of fisheye lens cinematography (here courtesy FavoriteRobbie Ryan), who makes interior and exterior spaces unnaturally wide, rounded and fabulous. That Lanthimos complements this brilliance with repeated aperture shots, low reverse-angle images, smooth panoramas and slamming zooms further contributes to the action’s anomalous grandeur.
Oscillating between Murnau-level austere monochrome and lush Sirkian tech colours, Lanthimos and Ryan’s visuals distort shapes, figures and perspectives, and their settings are also fantastically off-kilter. Poor things The action takes place in a steampunk style, marked by ornate mansions, spiral staircases and hyperbolic outfits, and Lanthimos’ camera twists and turns around these buildings and people with insane dexterity. The result is a film that, from an aesthetic point of view, resembles a florid, crazy hybrid of all sorts of disparate sources, from Time Bandits, Black Narcissus And Babe: Pig in the City To Amelie, Eraserhead, Nosferatu, And Alice in Wonderland.
Like Lewis Carroll’s heroine, Poor things“The main character falls down a (figurative) rabbit hole on a path to self-discovery, although in many other ways Bella Baxter (Stone) is more like Frankenstein’s child bride. Bella is a strange, raven-haired bird who lives in a mansion with surgeon Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe), whom she calls “God” and whose scarred face and tales of suffering (at the hands of his brilliant and uncaring father) mark him as a scientist and a monster. Godwin found Bella after her successful suicide attempt and brought her back to life, Mary Shelley style, albeit with major variations: instead of simply resurrecting her as her former self, he transplanted the brain of Bella’s unborn child into her then-dead head. shaking her into existence. Consequently, she is simultaneously a baby and an adult, a mother and a daughter—a closed-loop state that is reflected in the director’s curved compositions.
To study Bella, Godwin enlists the services of his surgical apprentice Max McCandles (Rami Youssef), who is stunned by what his mentor has done yet quickly falls in love with Bella. Bella was originally a simpleton with coordination and speech problems, but she is not an idiot; rather, she is a creature in a nascent stage of development, and her first step toward maturation involves exploring sexual pleasure. Through private and then public experiments, a hedonistic light comes on in Bella’s head. Despite agreeing to marry Max, she soon becomes deeply attracted to the sleazy Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a lothario lawyer who convinces her to escape from an English prison for freedom and adventure.
Bella yearns for what Duncan promises and they leave with Poor things leaving behind the grotesque, gloomy house of Godwin for Lisbon and the seductive ports beyond. This expedition begins with outrageous carnal debauchery (for Bella, sex is “leaps of fury”), and Lanthimos stages Bella’s countless erotic pleasures with the same eccentric swagger he brings to the rest of his material, in which Bella spits out food she doesn’t loves, discusses things that should not be mentioned in polite society, and allows her whims to take her wherever she goes. On a ship bound for Alexandria, she meets an elderly woman named Martha (Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s favorite Hanna Schygulla) and her companion Harry (Jerrod Carmichael) and is introduced to modern philosophical ideas that allow her to begin the slow transition from being a creature of instinct to one thought.
Bella’s quest for free will takes her to the brothels of Paris and the home of her ex-husband Alfie (Christopher Abbott), while Tony McNamara’s sharp and funny script gives her a grip on male opposites and the systemic forces Bella must navigate. contest. Poor things is an episodic saga of feminist empowerment that moves from one amusingly bizarre scenario to another, each involving bizarre physical, conversational and narrative features. Everything on Lanthimos’s imaginary movie set is stretched and tied up in a bizarre and surprising way, and Jerskin Fendrix’s score is equally elastic, operating in a variety of registers—sharp and tense strings, low and fearsome tones, playful and flighty. flutes – it seems that the film is in a state of constant metamorphosis.
Poor things‘ the plot never stops wildly reconfiguring its influences, including Candide, with Bella’s journey through the world and confrontation with the harsh realities of life, shattering her innocent illusions while also stimulating her desire for enlightenment and satisfaction on her own terms, cursing the demands of men and their self-serving society. Godwin, Duncan, Max, and Alfie all have unhelpful and/or conflicting ideas about what Bella is, should, and should be, and Lanthimos portrays them as exaggerated comic characters who stand in the way of Bella’s growth. Ruffalo in particular is a rebel, an absolute mockery of Duncan, who pretends to be a champion of unlimited liberation but ends up being a typical bratty chauvinist.
For all Poor thingsCreatively twisted, pillow-soft embroidery, nothing overshadows Stone’s strange, funny and touching performance as Bella, a beautiful beast who is equal parts charming and – for those who expect her to conform to misogynistic standards – menacing.
Whether nude or in one of her colorful and luxurious outfits, many of which pair coats and puffy-shouldered robes with short skirts and pants, Stone embodies Bella as a living, breathing, eternal mutation machine. From struggling to articulate basic concepts to eloquently expressing her opinions and desires, from stumbling awkwardly like Boris Karloff to confidently navigating the many treacherous spaces she finds herself in, Bella proves to be a virtuous young woman in the process of understanding and acceptance. her strength.
Distortion is everywhere Poor things, but ultimately the biggest change has to do with its author. Lacking the wry detachment that characterized much of his previous work, Lanthimos’ quirky and wonderful comic drama exudes a sincere and exuberant affection for Bella. Poking fun at her countrymen and oppressors but refusing to reduce her to a joke, the film ultimately becomes a celebration of triumphant feminist autonomy—and, as such, a leap forward in the maddeningly mad director’s own evolution.
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