In competition Friday for the Golden Lion, this new film by Greek Yorgos Lanthimos with the American star could catch the eye of jury president Damien Chazelle.

Emma Stone, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in her best-known film, "La la land", is indeed there on all levels. A friend of the Greek director, she is also the producer of the film.

The actress was unable to make the trip to Venice, due to the strike that paralyzes Hollywood and prohibits actors from promoting the films.

Buoyed by the success of the eighteenth-century black comedy "The Favourite", Lanthimos, in a universe more baroque than ever, has chosen in this fantastic film to surround Emma Stone with actors like Willem Dafoe or Mark Ruffalo.

Stone plays Bella, a chimera with the body of an adult woman but the brain of a baby, made by an obscure scientist who calls himself "God", Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe).

Baxter jealously watches over his creature, whom he intends to raise away from amorous passions, in his vast laboratory house in London.

When Bella escapes from her gilded cage on the arm of a man (Mark Ruffalo) to travel the world, from Lisbon to Paris via Alexandria, she will discover everything at the same time, and without any prejudice, pleasure, sex and feelings.

- 'Not a prudish movie' -

His relationships with men, especially in a Parisian brothel - the occasion of appearance of French actors like Damien Bonnard - are all ways to bring humorous touches, or to point out the relations of domination.

The character has "a mind that can launch freely, without shame or prejudice, without experience of the world," said director Yorgos Lanthimos in Venice.

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos at the 80th Venice Film Festival for the film "Poor Creatures", September 1, 2023 © GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

This fictional universe, with a retrofuturistic look, is in fact "extremely contemporary, (and allows) to talk about freedom, the way we feel about the world, the position of women in society, and men," he added.

Bella Baxter's sex education is shown unvarnished: "It was important for me not to make a prudish film, because it would have betrayed the main character," said the director.

"The character has no shame, nor Emma (Stone), on her body, her nudity," he added, noting that he had hired an intimacy coordinator for sex scenes, a fairly new profession that originally "seemed a little threatening for filmmakers, but (that) makes things simpler."

Accustomed to Cannes and Venice, director with a dark and strange style recognizable among all, Yorgos Lanthimos ("The Lobster", "Canine") regularly shoots in English with American stars and now forms a well-established creative couple with Emma Stone.

The director won the 2018 Jury Prize in Venice for "The Favourite", in which she also starred alongside Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz.

The film is set to be released in France on January 17, 2024.

© 2023 AFP