Kinds of Kindness: Emma Stone has fun in the great sabotage of Yorgos Lanthimos

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Yorgos Lanthimos felt it. Discovering Kinds of Kindnessthere is no doubt that the Greek filmmaker understood, with the success of The Favorite and of Poor Creatures, both Oscar winners, that he had become a desirable artist, one of those “universe” tinkerers that Hollywood is so fond of, never depriving himself of exhausting their fragile creativity. Eccentricity is all the rage in cinema, at least as long as it does not go beyond the stage of ornament and vaguely grating music – the calamitous reception of Megalopolis by Francis Ford Coppola on the Croisette, the summit of orgiastic and messy cinema, proved it.

It was therefore necessary for Yorgos Lanthimos to free himself before being devoured by the dream machine, to take a tangent before finding himself locked in a museum of motifs and tics, like a Tim Burton whose name does not now get excited as sellers of derivative products. The response to the prettiness and unexpected humanism of Poor Creaturesreleased last January, is therefore called Kinds of Kindness. Presented in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, the director’s ninth feature film marks a return to the openly cruel and enigmatic verve of his first films, such as Canine Or Alps.

Built in the form of a fable in three distinct mini-stories, in which we find the same troupe of actors with different costumes (Jesse Plemons and Emma Stone as headliners), Kinds of Kindness works on a common theme around submission and devotion to various power figures in the contemporary world, from the employer to the guru. The first segment sees Jesse Plemons as an employee of a company where his boss, played by Willem Dafoe (perhaps the actor who best embodies the Hollywood transformation of Lanthimos’ cinema with his hollow and disturbing face), dictates the entire of his days, from his waking up to his meals, even his ___ life. When the submissive refuses to organize a car accident, the boss abandons him and confronts him with an immense existential void. The second follows the daily life of a police officer who finds his wife missing during a trip and becomes convinced that it is another person who has returned in her place. He dares her to cut off her finger and cook it for him. The third tells of a cult member’s quest to find the new idol capable of resurrecting the dead.