Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the film begins in black and white and switches to colour when Emma Stone's character, Bella Baxter, begins her travels. The first stop is Lisbon.
“The world is so different when it is in black and white than when it has a colour palette”, said the director, at a conference about the film. “I thought it made sense to film the first part, before she starts her journey, in black and white.”
The colour Lisbon in the film is a fantasy version, with flying trams and exaggerated contrasts. Bella Baxter, who is discovering the world for the first time, finds the Portuguese capital an explosion of sensations.
“There are a lot of things that expand it,” Emma Stone said at the conference. “The animals, the food, the dancing. Music, singing, fado,” she stated.
On one of her tours around Lisbon, Bella Baxter stops and enjoys Carminho's fado, sung by the window while playing the Portuguese guitar. The fado singer was present at the film's premiere in New York, where she acted under the accomplice gaze of Emma Stone and spoke with Taylor Swift.
“What a pride to take fado and the Portuguese language to such a special place, sharing these moments with a unique director and a fabulous team”, wrote Carminho.
The character also discovers a passion for custard tarts, which she eats until she feels sick.
The film has received good reviews and is considered one of the candidates for several Oscar nominations, after winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Emma Stone stars alongside Willem Dafoe (Dr. Godwin Baxter), Mark Ruffalo (Duncan Wedderburn) and Ramy Youssef (Max McCandles). It's an “incredible” cast, said the actress.
“Bella is pure joy and curiosity, she feels no guilt and has no trauma,” said the actress. “It's hard to find an adult who hasn't been through things and doesn't have a 'Pavlovian' response or certain judgments.”
Lanthimos added that “this character is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.”
This is Emma Stone's second feature film with Yorgos Lanthimos, after “The Favourite”, in 2018.
“I didn’t even think twice. This is my favourite character ever.
The director, known for strange and fantastic stories, had been trying for twelve years to transform the award-winning book by Alasdair Gray ("Poor Things: Episodes from the Early Life of Archibald McCandless M.D., Scottish Public Health Officer"), published in 1992, into a film. The adaptation was written by Tony McNamara and the film, from Searchlight Pictures, will hit the European market in January 2024.