It's All Greek To Me: Director Yorgos Lanthimos

It's All Greek To Me: Director Yorgos Lanthimos

V'S BOOKINGS EDITOR, SARA ZION, REFLECTS ON TAPPING FILM DIRECTOR YORGOS LANTHIMOS TO SHOOT A FASHION EDITORIAL FOR OUR FASHION & FILM ISSUE

V'S BOOKINGS EDITOR, SARA ZION, REFLECTS ON TAPPING FILM DIRECTOR YORGOS LANTHIMOS TO SHOOT A FASHION EDITORIAL FOR OUR FASHION & FILM ISSUE

Photography: Yorgos Lanthimos

Text: Sara Zion

Yorgos Lanthimos is no stranger to the world of film festivals and critics, but 2015’s The Lobster, his first feature film in English, has only further confirmed that the esteemed director’s works transcend linguistic and cultural barriers. This universal vision and inclination towards unconventional premises, coupled with the filmmaker’s calculated visual aesthetic and highly original concepts, made him a perfect choice to fill the pages of V’s first-ever film issue.

As the V team navigated uncharted waters in the realms of fashion and cinema while planning the issue, Lanthimos was coming off of a year filled with first-time experiences of his own. Not only did he premiere his first non-Greek language full-length film, The Lobster, but the picture also granted him his first Jury Prize award at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as his first win for Best Screenplay at the European Film Awards. Wrought with symbolism and metaphor, the film straddles the line between conceptual indie and star-studded blockbuster and the product of this cross-genre creation has everyone from art world tastemakers to entertainment industry leaders waiting with bated breath in anticipation of its release later this year.

Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux and Ben Whishaw, The Lobster boasts Lanthimos’ highest-billed cast to date—but it’s not his first successful foray into entertainment. After directing several dance videos, commercials, music videos, theatre plays and short films, Lanthimos debuted his first feature film, Kinetta, to critical acclaim at the Berlin and Toronto film festivals in 2005. The story, written by Lanthimos himself with longtime collaborator Yorgos Kakanakis, takes place in the sleepy off-season of a Greek resort town. Capitalizing on Lanthimos’ penchant for awkward situations, the plot pushes the boundaries of his audience’s ability to accept raw dialogue and the unpolished presentation of realistic characters in bizarre scenarios.

His subsequent films Dogtooth and Alps earned Lanthimos a cult following for their existential plot lines and sprawling visuals, not to mention numerous awards including the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes in 2009, the Osella for Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival in 2011, and an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in the same year.

TAYLOR WEARS SWIMSUIT COVER

Though many may relish in finding a moment to relax in the wake of such critical success, Lanthimos is keeping busy formulating ideas for upcoming projects, travel, and another first: an editorial shoot for V’s 101st issue. By including Yorgos Lanthimos in V101’s mix of of-the-moment directors, we were confident that the result would be a story completely unlike anything we have featured before. Working with film directors was a new experience for most of the team here at V, and thus a risk we could only hope would prove rewarding. Hope, however, does not fill the pages of a publication.

Luckily for us, Lanthimos was engaged, enlightened, and eager to lend his creativity to a new medium. He came armed with a well-crafted concept and curated references. From lighting and fashion to photographic subject and setting, every aspect of the imagery had been carefully researched and thought out. In the coming weeks, we would discuss casting, location, crew, and equipment at length, and the final product was more prolific than any of us could have imagined.

TAYLOR WEARS SWIMSUIT VICTORIA'S SECRET

Even with movement and dialogue prohibited by the print medium, Lanthimos succeeded in creating a rich and vivid narrative with lifelike characters. In the family portrait-like photos, Lanthimos captures a feeling of home that is often missing in fashion imagery, but, true to his style, he also incorporates elements of the surreal.

Throughout the photos, fashion darling Taylor Hill assumes the role of an attention-seeking teen surrounded by the purposely-plain people characteristic of Lanthimos’ film work. The final images elicit an emotional reaction from its reader. From pre-teen memories of warm days spent by the pool, to the adolescent ability to be unabashedly bikini-clad all summer long, to the first memories of young love, Yorgos taps into that fleeting sense of youth and innocence that summer so often brings.

See Yorgos Lanthimos' full story with Taylor Hill for V101 here.

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Taylor Hill By Yorgos Lanthimos