Sex education in Frankenstein mode by Emma Stone in Venice

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos at the 80th Venice Film Festival for the film "Poor Creatures"September 1, 2023 (GABRIEL BOUYS)

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos at the 80th Venice Film Festival for the film “Poor Creatures”, September 1, 2023 (GABRIEL BOUYS)

Emma Stone explodes the Hollywood shackles of modesty in “Poor Creatures”, a feminine Frankenstein which caused an event on Friday in competition in Venice, where she plays a candid creature who undergoes her sentimental and sexual education.

In competition on Friday for the Golden Lion, this new film by Greek Yorgos Lanthimos with the American star could catch the eye of jury president Damien Chazelle.

Emma Stone, who won the Oscar for best actress in her best-known film, “La la land”, is indeed there in every aspect. Friend of the Greek director, she is also the producer of the film.

The actress was unable to make the trip to Venice, due to the strike which paralyzed Hollywood and prohibited actors from promoting films.

Buoyed by the success of the 18th century black comedy “The Favorite”, Lanthimos, in a more baroque universe than ever, chose in this fantastic film to surround Emma Stone with actors like Willem Dafoe or Mark Ruffalo.

Stone plays Bella, a chimera with the body of an adult woman but the brain of a baby, made by an obscure scientist who calls himself “God”, Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe).

Baxter jealously watches over his creature, whom he intends to raise sheltered from romantic passions, in his vast laboratory house in London.

When Bella escapes from her golden cage on the arm of a man (Mark Ruffalo) to travel the world, from Lisbon to Paris via Alexandria, she will discover everything at the same time, and without any prejudice, pleasure, sex and feelings.

– “Not a prudish film” –

His relationships with men, notably in a Parisian brothel – the occasion for the appearance of French actors like Damien Bonnard – are all ways of adding humorous touches, or of pointing out relationships of domination.

The character has “a spirit that can launch itself freely, without shame or prejudice, without experience of the world”, underlined director Yorgos Lanthimos in Venice.

This fictional universe, with a retrofuturist feel, is in fact “extremely contemporary, (and allows us to) talk about freedom, the way we feel about the world, the position of women in society, and of men,” he said. he adds.

Bella Baxter’s sexual education is shown unvarnished: “it was important for me not to make a prudish film, because that would have been a betrayal of the main character”, underlined the director.

“The character has no shame, nor Emma (Stone), about her body, her nudity,” he added, emphasizing having called on an intimacy coordinator for the sex scenes, a fairly new which originally “seemed a little threatening to the filmmakers, but (which) makes things simpler”.

A regular at Cannes and Venice, director with a dark and strange style recognizable among all, Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster”, “Canine”) regularly shoots in English with American stars and now forms a well-established creative couple with Emma Stone.

The director won the Jury Prize in Venice in 2018 for “The Favorite”, in which she also played alongside Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz.

The film is due to be released in France on January 17, 2024.


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