Lobster, The: Making of Lanthimos Satirical Sci-Fi (Part One)

The Lobster, the first English language film by Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth), world premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Fest in competition, where it won the Jury Prize.

the_lobster_posterA year later, it is getting its U.S. distribution via Alchemy.

Co-written by Lanthimos and his long-time collaborator, writer Efthimis Filippou, The Lobster was shot entirely on location in Ireland.

The Lobster is a love story set in the near future where single people, according to the rules of The City, are arrested and transferred to The Hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods. A desperate Man escapes from The Hotel to The Woods where The Loners live and falls in love, although it is against their rules.

The genesis of The Lobster evolved through observation and discussion between Lanthimos and Filippou about around life and people, relationships and behavior.


Need to Always be in Relationship

the_lobster_4Lanthimos explains: “The idea for this film came from discussion about how people feel like they need to always be in a relationship; how other people see those who can’t make it; how you’re considered a failure if you can’t be with someone; the lengths people go to in order to be with someone; the fear; and all those things that follow us trying to mate.”

Love, Companionship, Solitude

“Everything has to do with observing friends and strangers,” outlines Filippou, “And then thinking about how they live and how they react to different situations. The main need was to write something about love.  We tried to think what love means to humans right now; how it is connected to companionship and solitude.”

Lovers Vs. Loners

the_lobster_2The Lobster describes two different worlds: “One world where couples live, as opposed to a world where loners live. The main theme of the story is love. It tries to describe how it is to be a partner of someone and how it is to be by yourself in life.”

Hotel or Prison

Ed Guiney outlines: “It is set in a parallel world, certainly not futuristic but it’s not the world as we know it. In this world of The Lobster people who are single get sent to an institution which is quasi hotel, quasi prison, where they have a period of time to meet somebody and form a couple with that other person.”

Magiday: “It’s a very interesting look at how we are as people. Being single, being alone or being involved with someone and the fears and constraints society puts on that. The Lobster portrays aspects of the human condition whilst being a truly original love story.”

Modern Day Allegory

“It’s a very particular world view,” Guiney continues about the director. “Yorgos’ films are modern day allegories about the human condition. He finds ways of tackling some of the big things in our lives in very refreshing, very surprising narrative insights. His films contain quite a difference in terms of tonality; so there’s a lot of humour but there’s great sadness, there’s violence; so it’s an incredibly rich environment that he creates and shows to the audience.”

the_lobster_1Filippou is obviously a brilliant writer and quite inspirational and provocative. “We tried to present something real, but not in a real way. For me it is very difficult to write or think in a realistic way, and I admire it when I see it but I don’t think I can do it. So when I try and tell a story I’m trying to pick a real theme and a real situation and a real need but to present it in a way that is easier for me, and most of the time it’s not realistic.”

About Lanthimos

the_lobster_3Lanthimos’ second feature, Dogtooth, won numerous international awards including top prize of the series Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Fest. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. His third feature, Alps, won the Osella for Best Screenplay at the 2011 Venice Film Fest.