Friday, July 31, 2015

Is this love that I'm feelin'?

The Lobster

                Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos has made a name for himself with strange, absurd films, so it's not unexpected that The Lobster falls in the same category. The story is set in a dystopian world where all single people get sent to some sort of hotel where they have a limited number of days to find a partner or they'll be transformed in an animal of their choosing.

                The methods the staff at the hotel use to convince people it's better to be with someone, although shown with deadpan humour, are very disturbing and unexpectedly effective. For instance, when people arrive at the hotel one of their hands is tied up behind their backs to show them that „everything is easier in pair“. But there's also a way to extend your stay and remain single. The nearby forest is a hiding place for a group of runaways from the hotel who the residents go out to hunt once in a while. For each successful capture they get their stay extended. It's a pretty straightforward representation of society's fight against diversity and those who don't adhere to rules, but Lanthimos doesn't stay there.

                In the second half of the film, when the focus moves from the hotel to the forest, we get even more rigorous rules and brutal demonstration of intolerance for those who don't follow them. It's one of director's ironical twists, but also a disturbing example of illogical and revengeful human nature. Those who were forced to find a partner formed a community in which it is forbidden to have a partner, or even just flirt. Main character proves to be an constant exception and keeps breaking the rules wherever he is and whatever they are (which brings to question whether there's any possibility for him to have a happy ending), symbolizing in that way a fight for individuality inside an oppressive system.

                I've wrote more about its messages and themes (although I've mentioned but a few) than about the film itself because I find them more interesting. That's not to say that the film isn't good, on the contrary. It's a film with great acting, haunting music, bleak, washed up cinematography (which perfectly suits its themes) and many standout scenes. It's just that the philosophy behind it is more impressive than what goes on on the surface. The Lobster is more than meets the eye, all the way to its questioning, if not engrossing, ending.

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