Yorgos Lanthimos Only Wants to Be Your Problematic ‘Favourite’
At one point in The Favourite, Emma Stone violently smashes herself on the nose with a book. This type of facial self-harm has become something of a motif for Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos. After showing an actress slapping and strangling herself during rehearsal in his 2005 debut, Kinetta, his signature move emerged in Dogtooth — the violent, memorable Greek film from 2009 that marked Lanthimos as a European director to watch. Facing her bathroom mirror, a desperate young woman (frequent Lanthimos collaborator Angeliki Papoulia) hits herself repeatedly to try to lose her “dogtooth” — actually a regular canine that her gaslighting parents have convinced her she has to outgrow before she can finally leave the house and explore the world. A few years later in the Oscar-nominated The Lobster, Ben Whishaw fakes a chronic nose bleed, while in the climax, Colin Farrell prepares to blind himself with knives for love. For Lanthimos, the end often justifies the most harrowing of means.