Emma Stone’s Descent Into Sex Cults and Cannibalism in ‘Kinds of Kindness’ Lands 4.5-Minute Standing Ovation in Cannes

Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Kinds of Kindness,” starring Emma Stone, freaked out Cannes Film Festival on Friday night with an anthology of stories about sex cults, cannibalism and general debauchery.

Lanthimos’ follow-up to “Poor Things” earned a 4.5-minute standing ovation, with the director and his cast — including Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau and Joe Alwyn — leaving while the applause was still going. There were a few walkouts during the Cannes premiere, most of them coming after the film’s gorier, second chapter. Lanthimos abruptly left the screening and didn’t speak to audience members once the clapping stopped.

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The film, like many of Lanthimos’ avant-garde offerings, overflows with outré plot twists, outrageous moments — like Chau licking sweat off her followers as part of a cult ritual, a man who becomes convinced his wife is a pod person, and of course, Stone’s epic breakdance moves — and positively reckless driving. There’s also some culinary delights that aren’t for the faint of stomach, as well as some mutilations and graphic violence that might upset the squeamish. There’s also a great deal of absurdist humor, which much of the audience seemed to enjoy, laughing alone with some of the more WTF sequences.

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The stars came out in force on the red carpet prior to the movie’s grand unveiling. Lanthimos was flanked by Stone, his Oscar-winning “Poor Things” star, along with Dafoe (another “Poor Things” alum), Plemons, Alwyn, Chau, Mamoudou Athie and Qualley.

“Kinds of Kindness” tells three distinctive stories with cast members playing different roles in each.

Lanthimos is no stranger to the the Palais des Festivals, having previously premiered the likes of “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” at Cannes. However, his more recent offerings, like “The Favourite” and “Poor Things,” both bowed at the Venice Film Festival, which served as a launching pad to their successful awards season runs. Searchlight Pictures, which released both of those films, will debut “Kinds of Kindness” on June 21.

“Kinds of Kindness” is one of the highest-profile debuts at a festival that has already seen the bows of “Furiousa,” George Miller’s prequel to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” as well as the premiere of “Megalopolis,” Francis Ford Coppola’s decades-in-the-making fantasy drama.

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