Yorgos Lanthimos: Dear God, the Parthenon is still broken

Yorgos Lanthimos

Void, 2024


‘Dear God, the Parthenon is still broken’ is a photographic vignette by Yorgos Lanthimos. Although created on the set of the film ‘Poor Things’ in Budapest, the book inhabits a separate world, untethered from time and place.

The photographs drift between black and white and colour, giving the impression of a waking dream between past and present, whilst multiple layers between reality and fiction are gradually revealed. The film was set in various late 19th century locations including London, Lisbon, Marseille, and a cruise ship—all recreated in Budapest. These constructed cities and interiors provide the backdrop for the photographs. The characters populate these imagined cities whilst the precarious screens, scaffolding, rigs, lighting and crew are divulged on the periphery of the images. Lanthimos has intentionally widened the frame to show the workings of the construct, fabricating a new story within the story. To mirror this, the publication is designed with foldouts to reveal these constructs within the cast of characters—the reader opens a book within a book.

In reaction to the fast-moving creation of the film, Lanthimos embraced the opportunity to use a large-format camera to make these images, focusing on stillness, tonality and light. Deciding on a composition and not changing this until the exposure was complete, each picture provided him with a meditative time of focus. The creative process of making the images extended to collaboration with the actress Emma Stone who played the role of Bella Baxter in the film, for which she was awarded an Oscar. Through working together on previous projects, Lanthimos and Stone have developed a unique creative partnership. After a busy day of filming, they would develop the colour 6×7 negatives and the b&w 4×5 sheet film together in a makeshift darkroom in a bathroom. This alchemic act offered them both a creative outlet beyond the realm and constraints of the film.

The title of the book ‘Dear God, the Parthenon is still broken’ comes from a postcard that the character of Bella Baxter was to send to her father, God, from Athens. The scene was cut from the final version of the film.

The book opens with a previously unpublished poem by Patti Smith, inspired by the film.


ISBN: 9786185479336

120 pagina's, geïllustreerd + drie fold outs, 30 x 24 cm, hardcover, Engels