ATHENS – American actress Emma Stone and Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos have teamed up once again for a new short, silent film shot on a Greek island in black and white.
Tackling loss, necrophilia and rugged Greek landscapes, “Bleat” is the pair’s first collaboration since their 2019 brush with the Oscars for “The Favourite”.
The new 30-minute short film, also starring French actor Damien Bonnard, premiers in Athens on Friday and was shot on the hilltops of the Greek island of Tinos.
Goats feature prominently, though despite the film’s title, no bleating is actually heard.
“There were a lot of goats… I find them fascinating animals,” Lanthimos told AFP.
“The landscape itself and the atmosphere there was the first inspiration,” he said.
The sombre black-and-white short that mostly takes place in a traditional Greek house is also silent, which Stone said she truly appreciated.
“It was a dream,” she told a news conference on Thursday. “If I could only work silently, that would be a delight.”
Lanthimos also said he found the experience liberating.
“I generally think that restrictions can help in creating something. When you have too many means at your disposal, you can easily get lost,” he said.
Most of the people appearing in the movie are Tinos locals with no acting experience.
“We went round the island, met people and cast them… non-professional actors can be really incredible,” Lanthimos said.
Organisers did not reveal the film’s budget but noted that Stone took no salary to participate because of her friendship with the director.
She starred for Lanthimos in the 18th-century black comedy “The Favourite”, which earned them respectively best supporting actress and best director nominations at the 2019 Academy Awards.
“I feel very safe with him, and challenged by him,” Stone said.
“What is the point continuing to do this, no offence but, kind of stupid job of acting if you’re not gonna keep pushing and growing and being challenged?”
“Bleat” will be screened at the Greek National Opera on May 6 to 8 with music played by a live orchestra.
The 48-year-old Lanthimos has earned accolades for his absurdist movies that emerged in a so-called “weird wave” that rose around the time of Greece’s 2010 brush with bankruptcy.
His film “Dogtooth” was nominated for best foreign film at the 2011 Oscars, while his first English language feature film, “The Lobster” was nominated for best original screenplay at the 2017 Oscars.