June 6, 2016
Recently I went to see the movie, The Lobster. It is definitely a thought provoking movie, disturbing and funny and very wierd. I plan to write an article about its theology, but for the moment, here are two insightful quotes from movie reviewers.
Beethoven, Shostakovich and Stravinsky all put in prominent appearances, but the most evocative selection here may well be Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue’s country-Gothic ballad “Where the Wild Roses Grow,” which its plaintive plea for unrestrained love: “Do you know where the wild roses grow, so sweet and scarlet and free?” Perversely romantic almost in spite of itself, “The Lobster” doesn’t offer the answer, but it suggests we keep looking.
Chicago Reader Review
Lanthimos and his frequent cowriter Efthymis Filippou draw heavily on the theater of the absurd in their crafting of timeless and tragicomic fables that hold up a mirror to society.
The term “theater of the absurd” was coined by Hungarian dramatist Martin Esslin in a 1960 essay of that name, which dealt with the work of Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, and Eugene Ionesco. “The Theatre of the Absurd attacks the comfortable certainties of religious or political orthodoxy,” he wrote in 1965. “It aims to shock its audience out of complacency, to bring it face to face with the harsh facts of the human situation as these writers see it.” The absurdism of these plays, according to Esslin, typically arises from a world devoid of meaning in which people are controlled by mysterious outside forces. Absurdist plays often mix broad comedy with horror and tragedy; the dialogue is riddled with dictums and cliches; the flat or archetypal characters, stuck in meaningless routines, tend to behave like automatons; and the cyclical plots emphasize repetition and the pointlessness of existence.
The Lobster’s comedy, like that of so many absurdist plays, is biting and tinged with terror.
The Lobster’s dialogue is purposely ridiculous, the actors straight-faced and robotic as they utter romantic bromides.
Esslin wrote that the real challenge of absurdist drama is to persuade the viewer to “accept the human condition as it is.” An absurdist drama, if written and executed well, need not leave the audience feeling miserable. “The shedding of easy solutions, of comforting illusions, may be painful,” he wrote, “but it leaves behind it a sense of freedom and relief . . . in the last resort, the Theatre of the Absurd does not provoke tears of despair but the laughter of liberation.” The