The film “Lobster” – two versions of the dictatorship
For some reason, it is generally accepted that loneliness is an extremely negative state for an individual. In fact, flocking, pride, school or herd in the animal kingdom is a way to survive. But the way to survive is not for an individual, but for the species as a whole. There are, however, among our “smaller brothers” and loners who conclude a short-term union only for the marriage period. These are foxes, bears, crocodiles, badgers, rhinos, squirrels and many other creatures that prefer a secluded lifestyle. Even lobsters. Let them maintain fertility for up to a hundred years, but they absolutely do not need a pair.
In the case of primates, there are species-specific differences. Primates live alone, in pairs, and in hierarchically regulated groups. But if among monkeys it is a specific species (chimpanzee, gorilla, macaque, etc.) that dictates one or another algorithm of social life, then people belong to the same species, but tend to different ways of existence. There are enough hermits, couples, and company lovers.
Loneliness is a crime
In a dystopian totalitarian society, which can be seen in the film “Lobster” by the Greek director Yorgas Lanthimos, the state does not take into account the personal inclinations of various representatives of homo sapiens. Everyone has a responsibility to be part of a couple. It doesn’t matter if it’s homo or heterosexual. The police tirelessly catch lonely people in public places such as supermarkets, check documents and, if the absence of a partner is proven, send them to a special comfortable hotel, something like a dating club. True, with a touch of a concentration camp.
Three circumstances hang over the “lonely hearts” in the hotel with swords of Damocles:
- You must have time to create a pair before the expiration of 45 days.
- You can choose a partner only on the basis of the same characteristics.
- Poor fellows who do not cope with the task are turned into animals and sent to the forest.
A step to the right, a step to the left in this society is considered an escape. Everything is regulated, the nuances are not recognized: you cannot choose a shoe size 44.5 – only 44 or 45. So with orientation, homo or hetero, there is no third.
One joy: an animal for a violent reincarnation can be chosen to your taste. Divorced forty-year-old architect David (Colin Farrell), if he is not lucky to “find a soul mate”, wants to drag out the remaining days with lobster: this representative of the lobster family is capable of breeding to old age, and his blood is blue, just like aristocrats. David also loves the sea very much. However, in most cases, the choice of the doomed losers stops at the man’s friend – the dog.
“This is why there are so many dogs in the world.”
The staff demonstrates to the hotel residents the delights of being in a couple and the horrors of loneliness with simple scenes during trainings in the assembly hall. But what scares the diligently applauding audience is not the possibility of being without the help of a partner in a difficult situation, but the impending reincarnation.
In a thirst to escape exile in the guise of an animal, the hotel’s clients go for tricks. John (Ben Whishaw) imitates nosebleeds in order to become like one of the young ladies who really suffer from them, and the phlegmatic, intelligent David pretends to be a cruel monster, wanting to get close to a heartless woman. However, for a long time his acting skills were not enough: it was not possible to hide his tears when the chosen one brutally killed his unlucky brother, who has existed in the body of a dog for the second year and arrived at the hotel with David.
Loneliness is a duty
Having avenged the fierce lady (having independently carried out her transformation into an animal that remained unnamed), David escapes into the wild, into the pampas, that is, into the forest. Guests of the hotel are daily hunted for the outcasts living in the thickets of society. Shot with a dart with a tranquilizer – and voila, a paralyzed loner is ready to transform into another animal, which teems the thicket, and a well-aimed hunter gets another privileged day at the hotel. It is not for nothing that the famous Chekhov’s gun hangs on the wall of every hotel room.
Not everything, however, is so rosy in the “free” partisan group. Having found himself in the company of loners strolling through the woods and from time to time arranging sabotage, David finds himself in yet another strictly regulated society. Only with a minus sign. The forest world is a mirror image of the hotel world. The same dictatorship, only “upside down”. Instead of matrimonial “twisting hands” – the dictate of militant egocentrism. Any manifestation of human feelings is prohibited. Dancing – at a “pioneer” distance to electronic music (each has individual headphones and his own melody), for kisses – lip amputation. And no mutual assistance. Even a grave, if anything, no one will dig for the deceased: he must dig it himself. In advance. And try on, whether in size.
Have you dug your own grave yet?
The grave, by the way, was soon needed. In it, David neatly packed the principled chieftain of the “underground” (Lea Seydoux), who deceived the hero’s beloved for an operation, as a result of which a girl who had violated the laws of loners went blind. Here is a method of dealing with forbidden flirting.
Common signs instead of soul kinship
Interest in this very darling (Rachel Weisz) David for some time successfully hid from the harsh leader of the loners. And his feeling blossomed at the very moment when he discovered the notorious similarity. The idea is firmly hammered into the architect’s head that it is necessary to create pairs on the basis of identical external signs. With what joy the bespectacled David discovers that his betrothed is also myopic! And how temperamentally he examines the subject of wearing contact lenses of his alleged rival, who brought the girl a rabbit. Checked: no lenses! So the guy is not short-sighted. Therefore, there is no reason for jealousy: a big-eyed neighbor is not suitable for partners with a lady of heart suffering from myopia.
And the final is open …
So, the beloved is blind. The resemblance is lost. David remembers: it is necessary, absolutely necessary to have something in common (nosebleeds, myopia, lush hair, lameness, etc.). There is only one way out: to blind yourself. Again Romeo and Juliet from dystopia will have the same defect. The couple leaves the forest and strides purposefully into the city.
In a cafe, the hero asks the waiter for a sharp, sharp knife (not for bread, but for meat) and goes to the toilet, trying on a piercing and cutting tool in front of a mirror, now to one eye, now to the other. The girl sits alone at a table. Sits for a long time. There is still no beloved.
And on that optimistic (or pessimistic?) Note, the screen goes black. And then credits, credits, credits …
And now – try to understand, the screen turned black according to the director’s intention, because David still became blind and does not see anything else?
Or maybe he came to his senses and escaped safely, eyesight is dearer than all the beauties in the world?
Or maybe he realized that for love you don’t need to have common signs at all?