Top 100 Yorgos Lanthimos Quotes

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“Provocative… I used to be defensive about it, but in the end, I realised it’s exactly right. It’s what we’re trying to do – to provoke thought and discussion and, you know, shake people up to start thinking about things in a different way. I’m interested in messing with what they think is the norm.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Rebellion is not always the right thing. Following the rules is not always the right thing. You have to think for yourself and identify the things that do not work for you.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I wouldn’t be making films if I just wanted to express some specific ideas; then I would be writing essays or something.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I find it very interesting to keep people uncertain about what is what and figure it out as they go.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Don’t think too hard. Just be present, and things will reveal themselves.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“’The Lobster’ is very particular, and we did need to create a very specific world with specific rules so the whole premise would work.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I always expect people to be torn when they see one of my films and divided in some way.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“’The Lobster,’ at some point, was my most accessible film. Then I made ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer,’ which turned out to be not as accessible as ‘The Lobster.’ It was the film I wanted to make and the story I wanted to tell.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I think you can tell a lot about people if you observe them as they’re observing.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I work very closely with my co-writer, Efthimis Filippou. Ideas either start from him or me, and then the other one develops it, and it’s a constant conversation.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Telling a story is the way of exploring so many different things – human behavior, society, whatever existence.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Starting in Greece, you couldn’t really say, ‘I’m going to become a film-maker.’ A 15-year-old boy in Greece in the ’80s and ’90s? There was nothing like that happening.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I think I do things that are more common in theatre.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I don’t have time to read much. I’m trying to read ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ again, for a year now – I keep getting halfway, and then there’s a lot of work, and I forget it, and I have to go back to the beginning.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I just try and decide what I’m interested in and what excites me. I don’t worry about how it’s going to be perceived.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I never thought that I would ever actually get to make films. Being from Greece, it wasn’t really a reality.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I did have a lot of years watching and appreciating dance and theater and all of those kind of things, and it has informed the way that I work with actors and the way I approach things.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“It’s hard for me to find a script that’s perfectly suited to me, so even if it’s a good script, I’ll still have to work on it with someone and shape it, making it the film that I want to make. So in that respect, I prefer to do the stuff that I’ve generated anyway.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Having rules means that sometimes people break them, and that means punishment.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I wasn’t a film buff.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I’ve played around with the notion of making a series on the premise of ‘Alps’ because it’s one of the films no one saw.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I either enjoy things or not. And things either make me think, or they don’t. Or they mess with me, and I feel awkward.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“As an audience member myself, I love to be in a position where I’m trying to figure out what I am supposed to feel or if what I’m feeling is appropriate or not.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I wouldn’t know what to say about something that worked in a perfect way, so I guess, in everything, I try to find what doesn’t work and expose it and then see how it relates to people and their stories and their character.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I am calm but on the outside, mostly. When I’m on a film set, the stress is so humongous that I’m dying inside – I’m extremely stressed, but I do try, and… well, I don’t try. I think it’s my natural reaction to not externalize things.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I never think about it much, the visual aspect of it, until we start making the movie. I don’t really think about it when we write. When we finish, and I start putting the film together, and we pick the locations, I do think about that a lot.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“The way I work, and the material we work with, I think if you analyze too much and have too many specific ideas, it just becomes a little bit too superficial, and then performances might become too self-conscious and project relatively narrow things.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“All the talented and smart actors, they get it: as soon as it comes out of their mouth, they know if it’s right or wrong. If the writing has a particular voice, they get it, and they can hit it.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“All of us have been through relationships; there have been periods of time when we’ve been single. It’s something that everyone experiences. It’s a matter of making that observation and then start to ask questions about it: Why is it like that? And why do we feel that? And why are we organized this way? Isn’t there any other way?”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“For some reason, I guess, people wanted me to prove myself in English-language films.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I just think it’s interesting to start a dialogue.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Sometimes people say things and don’t really know what they mean by what they’re saying. Subconsciously, it might mean something different.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I think there’s all these unknown things you can tap into when you just leave things open, and nothing is forbidden. Then you allow yourself to mold that thing that has been created by freedom and spontaneity and flexibility. That’s why I avoid limiting performances of actors and characters.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Something that’s a hilarious comedy, for someone else might be a drama.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“When I look at my films, all I see is everything that went wrong.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Of course you can’t do anything completely original.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“It was always hard to make films in Greece, but making them with friends made it possible.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“It’s hard not to be political.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I haven’t been a director-for-hire for any project. I work with people who appreciate that, understand that, and want to work that way.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I think it’s been obvious from the beginning that my projects are not going to be something that people already have in mind. You can’t be thinking about such things when you create something.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I will not become analytical about my work.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I work very physically. I don’t like to intellectualize too much about what we’re doing, or analyze it.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“In any case, I would never make a film that was only one thing. Even if it’s my warmest, most romantic film, I still want it to have the more cynical view of things, showing the irony and absurdity of things that we consider normal.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I think human relationships – the whole thing is cruel. It’s very difficult.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Personal relationships, mood, chance, or anything like that can actually affect people’s decisions, and when they’re in a position of power, their capriciousness can affect the fate of a nation.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Because we’re brought into the world or educated in a certain way, we’re trained to accept the world in a certain way.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Being extremely honest is quite funny. But there’s no recipe or concept that I can bring up that fully defines what we find humorous. It’s instinctive.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“People influence each other, so one screening will be filled with laughs while another is dead silent.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“For me, casting is very instinctive, and if I don’t feel good about it, I just can’t go ahead and make the film.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Yeah, it shouldn’t be an issue. Stories about women, about men, about homosexuals, about heterosexuals. We shouldn’t point at what it is.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I learned about making films by going into advertising, making commercials.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Even today, I’m not sure why I make films or what makes me want films. I think it’s other people’s films. Whenever I see a really great film, I think, ‘I want to make a film like that.’ And then I never do.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I’m interested in many different things. I guess I just want to evolve.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“There’s much more activity in England than in Greece. Or at least there’s a lot more development, which obviously brings another set of problems.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I made three films in Greece, and they’re made under very specific, very limited conditions.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I’m just trying to progress with every film I make and become better.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“No studio picks up the phone after seeing ‘Dogtooth’ and goes, like, ‘We have the next superhero movie.’ Though if one did, that would be an interesting studio to work with.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I just do things that I’m interested in making and work with the people I’m interested in working with, and it’s very important for me to maintain the creative control because, otherwise, I just don’t want to do it.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I want all the mistakes to be mine, and I want to take responsibility for everything even if I fail. Whatever the project is, I need to have the final say.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I make films that are what they are. Some people like them, and some people don’t.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I always try and decide what I’m interested in, and I just do that.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“The best way to watch a film is to not know anything about the person who made it.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Uncertainty helps keep actors on edge.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“If you use music boldly at the front of a scene, it creates another level.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Anytime people see an emotion that is not extremely emotional, they call it ‘deadpan.’”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Most acting is very melodramatic. It’s not what you see in people.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“There are things to love about filmmaking in Greece. People are generous: If you get along well with others, the people around you will give more than they might otherwise be willing to give, more than they’re supposed to.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I never knew that I would even be making English-language films.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I don’t make long-term plans, for sure.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I enjoy sometimes focusing on a character in a scene that’s not actually doing the main action or the talking.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“In general, I like contradictions and complex situations.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I’m very open to making films anywhere in the world.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Of course I know what works for me and what kind of tone I want my films to have.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Having a couple of films that were successful internationally has made the film community aware of the films coming out of Greece.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“We were fortunate enough to shoot ‘Alps’ – write the script and shoot it – right after ‘Dogtooth’ premiered in Cannes. So we didn’t just sit around and wait to figure out what to do because ‘Dogtooth’ was successful. We just wanted to make another film fast, so we just went ahead and did it.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“You tend to be more attentive when you shoot on film because, you know, it costs more, and everybody needs to be focused when you’re filming something. Everybody considers it something valuable and precious, so everybody’s focused.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“By employing a certain sense of humor, you essentially get more serious about things and show conflict more effectively than if you were overly dramatic or only violent because that’s a one-way approach that just forces audiences to watch something appalling.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Try to place the camera somewhere where you get most of the information from there, so you don’t need to have too many shots and be too explanatory and expositional about the scene.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I think you can be much truer to real emotions and reality by creating something that on the surface seems artificial but, by then putting everything together in the end, is much more impactful than trying to use realism in every individual element of the film.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I always loved films, and when I decided to go to film school, it was with the excuse that I would go into making commercials, because that would be a proper profession, and people wouldn’t think I was crazy.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“The first time I was paid was with ‘The Lobster,’ because with the Greek films, we just had to pay ourselves – work for free while making commercials in order to survive.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I am not interested in representing reality. Actually, I am interested in representing reality, but that doesn’t mean a naturalistic approach, which I think is kind of impossible.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“In film, I like transformation. That goes for the language, for the image, for the performance.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“There are various ways of delivering some kind of truth, so I try to find the style or the way that I find more effective.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Whenever a film doesn’t follow to the letter the preset strict conventional rules of today’s commercial cinema, it’s considered weird.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“The actors bring their own stuff and thoughts, and most of the time, I don’t want to know what they are. It allows me to have more distance and observe what they’re doing without having the knowledge of what they have in their minds, so I can see clearly how that feels to me.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I think children are really violent with each other often.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I never think in metaphors or fully make those kind of associations myself. I just lay down a complex situation and hope things arise from that.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“The most important thing is to allow gaps and openings for people to make up their own minds – I don’t want my film to be pretending to have one important truth to tell anyone.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I feel kind of offended when I watch films, and everything is explained to me – you know, laying out how I should feel from one scene to the next.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“It’s hard for me to consider something in cinema or theater as something realistic.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“If actors are trying to convey, in a smart way, the context of the scene, that becomes too self-conscious.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Most times, women are seen through the male gaze, so they are often shown as housewives, girlfriends, or objects of desire.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“For me, filmmaking is not about making statements but about exposing human behavior so people are eager enough to start thinking on their own and make their own assumptions.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I make films to explore concepts and raise questions, not tell the audience what to think.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“It’s weird to try and identify a nationality for a film.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“As long as I can make the films I want to make in decent conditions, I am happy.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“Everybody has a love/hate relationship with their own country.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“When people don’t understand what they’re watching, a lot of what they perceive has to do with who they themselves are.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos

“I used to be quite negative about going back to Greece and making something, but there is a certain kind of freedom that I’ve experienced while I was making films in Greece that is hard to replicate elsewhere.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos
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