“Poor creatures!” it’s a cauldron of invention with Emma Stone in a state of grace
September 10, 2023 at 08:09
Never before have the public and the jury been on the same wavelength as at this Venice exhibition: why “Poor creatures!”movie Yorgos Lanthimos who won the Golden Lion convinced everyone. Funny, touching, full of invention both visually and on the screenplay, with actors in a state of grace, starting with the main character. Emma Stonebut not forgetting the excellent Willem Dafoe AND Mark Ruffalo.
“Poor creatures!” (which will be released in Italian cinemas in January) is a sort of fantasy retelling of the Frankenstein myth. It follows the fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by a strange scientist (Willem Dafoe), who then decides to run away with a charming adventurer (Mark Ruffalo) to discover the world. All the men she meets would like to “tame” her in one way or another, but she is simply uncontrollable. Because the scientist transplanted the brain of a newborn into her adult body, free from prejudice and any conventions.
“Novel Alasdair Gray on the basis of which I made the film, – says the director, – this is, in fact, a story about women’s freedom in society. When directing it, I was guided by the idea of Bella’s “Grand Tour” around the world: from London, where she is held captive by her scientist “father”, she escapes to Lisbon on a romantic trip with her lover, then to Alexandria, where he realizes the pain of the world, in Paris, where he explores his sexuality, trying to overcome all restrictions, before returning home.”
In fact, the film has very explicit sex scenes, but in no way painful, and even often funny: “Bella has no shame, no trauma: she doesn’t even have a past,” he said. Emma Stone his character. “She was not raised in a society that places such restrictions on women. It can be incredibly liberating. In America we can witness so much violence without being shocked, but we are shocked by nudity and sexuality. Instead, for Yorgos it’s the other way around.”
“It’s a story of growth and liberation for a woman who grew up in a very repressive male society,” she adds. Willem Dafoe who plays Bella’s creator. “A lot of the film’s comedy comes from this: his relationships with the male characters are very explicit and clearly show the fear that men have towards women. Male characters try to control Bella in various ways, but she fails.
It’s just too autonomous.”
All this takes place in an unusual, colorful, unreal and fabulous “parallel world”: “It was necessary to create a world in which Bella could live,” explains Lanthimos. “It couldn’t be anything realistic. We added some elements of science fiction, anachronism or imagination that help make the film more like a fairy tale.”
Filming took place on numerous sound stages in Budapestwhere the production built entire worlds of London and Baxter’s house, an ocean liner, a square and a brothel in Paris, a hotel and the slums of Alexandria… And for the scenes taking place in Lisbon, the largest theater in continental Europe was used, located in the Korda Studios in Budapest.
Finally, take a look at Lanthimos’ method of working: Once the cast was chosen, the actors played a variety of games to get comfortable with each other, overcome inhibitions, and share humor.
“We spent three weeks rolling around on the floor doing weird exercises together. It was as if we were participating in a creative war,” he recalls. Ramy Youssefwho plays Max, the sweetest (only?) male character in the film.