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'Alps' Director Yorgos Lanthimos on Following Up 'Dogtooth,' His Move to England and What He Finds Boring

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire July 12, 2012 at 11:26AM

'Alps' Director Yorgos Lanthimos on Following Up 'Dogtooth,' His Move to England and What He Finds Boring
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"Alps"
Kino Lorber "Alps"

You're not really one for exposition. Both this and "Dogtooth" start in the thick of the tale. What's your reasoning behind that approach?

I just find it much more engaging and interesting. I just find it boring when they start explaining everything from the beginning. Not just that it's predictable, it's also that you're directed precisely on what to feel. I just find it boring and sometimes annoying when I'm being treated like an idiot.

I find it much more interesting if people are able to explore and get lost in the film. I want them to discover things little by little, and have to the space to think of different things while watching the film. It happens in real life. Everything that you see in front of you doesn't come with a set of instructions. I don't know who you are and how you're going to react to various things.

There's so much mystery in life. I thought when you're watching a film, that was supposed to be the idea.

Is that why your characters are all so mysterious? The actors all create these complex portrayals, but in writing them, you don't give much away in terms of motivation and background.

It's the same kind of logic. I find them much more interesting and much more true in a way. Again, you don't really know why people do what they do. It's about discovering these people.

"Alps"
Kino Lorber "Alps"

Do actors come to you with a slew of questions before starting on a project?

Not any more. They used to [laughs].

Whoever they are, I try to work with them very physically and build on what we have. We just try things out.

Now call me crazy but I find your films pretty hilarious.

Thank you! I think they're very funny, and that's how I make them. Some people can't see throughout the dark element, and that's fine with me too. It's easy for one person to fall on side of it, and easy for another person to fall on the other side of it. You can't say clearly that it's comedy or drama, it's about the tone. It's true to the things we want to explore.

How would you describe your own sense of humor?

I don't know. You're asking me to do these big journalistic things [laughs]. It's what you see.

This article is related to: Interviews, Alps, Yorgos Lanthimos