Golden Lion for the Greek director with “Poor Things”
There is no doubt that Giorgos Lanthimos is a special personality in the world of cinema, who has proven that Greek cinema and Greek directors can stand and stand out.
This year, George Lanthimos’ Poor Things was the big favourite from the moment it made its world premiere at the 80th Venice Film Festival’s award ceremony. A prediction that was confirmed and thus, he became the first Greek filmmaker to receive the Golden Lion award, writing his name in gold letters in the history of Greek cinema. He had come close in 2018 for his film, “The Favourite”, but he had won the Silver Lion then, while in 2011, he had won the screenplay award for “The Alps”.
Giorgos Lanthimos could not hide his emotion when he received the award and in his short speech he thanked his collaborators and especially his leading lady Emma Stone, “a fantastic person and a unique creature”, as he described her, but also his permanent partner in editing, Giorgos Mavroparidis. He also thanked the jury, which gave him the first prize, consisting of Damien Chazelle (chairman), Saleh Bakri, Jane Campion, Mia Hansen-Lave, Gabriele Mainetti, Martin McDonagh, Santiago Mitre, Laura Poitras, Sue Ki.
In other awards, Ruusuke Hamaguchi won the Grand Jury Prize for Evil Does Not Exist, while both topical refugee dramas were honored. Mateo Garrone took the Directing Award for “Io Capitano” and Anieska Holland took the Special Commission Award for “Green Border”.
In terms of performances, Alba Rorwalker of “Hors-Saison” was left out of the awards (Emma Stone could not be awarded, as her film won the Golden Lion), with Stéphane Brise’s moving love story being the only notable film to be completely ignored by the jury.
The success of Giorgos Lanthimos was embraced by the international press with rave reviews. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported with a highly praising commentary: “Lanthimos’ beautiful work won the international film exhibition of the Biennale. The film now enters the battle for an Oscar”, the Rome daily writes in its online edition. At the same time, it quotes a statement by the director, who, on receiving the award, said that “this film tells the story of a fictional creature and would not exist without Emma Stone, who is another fictional creature. This film is hers, without her it would not exist.” The actress was not present at the closing ceremony of the Film Biennale because she is participating in the American Actors and Screenwriters strike.
Special references to the Greek director’s success and the film “Poor Things” about women’s empowerment and self-determination were also made by the New York Times, Euronews, Associated Press.
France 24 expressed itself with rave reviews. “Greek wizard of paradox George Lanthimos wins Venice’s top prize”, while Reuters wrote: “Poor Things, a gothic, sexual comedy directed by Greek director George Lanthimos, won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday.”
El Pais writes about the “unstoppable and free rebellion of George Lanthimos’ Poor Things, which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival”. He comments that it is a film about a woman thirsty for pleasure and knowledge, played by Emma Stone, which exalts the Greek filmmaker.