Yorgos Lanthimos's best films ranked, as his newest movie, Kinds of Kindness, heads to Cannes

It came as no great surprise that Poor Things, Oscar-nominated Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s 2023 film, won the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, won best musical or comedy at the Golden Globes, and was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning four.

The black comedy, a twist on the Frankenstein story, was described by critics as "pleasure to the eye, pleasure to the soul", "luscious", "toweringly bizarre", and "unlike anything you’ve seen in years".

Now, just over a month since the Oscars wrapped up, Lanthimos is gearing up to release a new film: Kinds of Kindness, a three-part modern-day fable of sorts which will be broken up into segments, following different characters.

As far as the plot goes, that’s all we know so far. The trailer – a cool 46 second teaser that flashes between shots of Lanthimos’s favourite actors (Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe) and some new additions (Hunter Schafer, Joe Alwyn) thrusting, dancing, slapping, screaming – against the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams no less – sets the tone for a very different kind of film from Poor Things.

It’s not a shock that Kinds of Kindness, as announced last week, will premiere at Cannes in May as part of the Official Competition.

So, as we wait for more Lanthimos, here is our pick of the 50-year-old’s best films, ranked in ascending order. We've left off his first films, My Best Friend (2001) and Kinetta (2005), which are markedly less good than the rest of the bunch (discuss).

Alps (2011)

It's a fascinating premise: a small company of four people provides a service in which its staff impersonate deceased family members, to help fill devastating holes in people's lives. The story follows nurse Monte Rosa (Aggeliki Papoulia) as she works for the strange firm.

Lanthimos's 2011 psychological drama won the Osella for Best Screenplay at Venice. His famous wit and tone run throughout the snowy feature, but the storyline is less perfectly paced than those in some of his other works.

The Lobster (2015)

Rachel Weisz is a marvel, and the first half of this barmy film is electrifying, but The Lobster fails to hold its momentum until the end, which is why it's so far down our list. Still, it's fun to watch Lanthimos's dark musings on relationships and being single.

The premise is both thrilling and terrifying. David (Colin Farrell) finds himself single after a 12 year relationship so heads to a singles hotel, which is run by Olivia Colman's strict and nameless proprietor. The guests are given 45 days to find a partner; if they don't they are turned into animals. David's brother, who failed the process, is now a dog. Weisz's unnamed character becomes David's love interest. Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly also star.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

All of Lanthimos's films have unsettling and dark elements, but The Killing of a Sacred Deer is an out and out psychological horror. The story, which the Standard described as "shocking", follows heart surgeon Steven (Colin Farrell) whose family become sick after the teenage son (played by Barry Keoghan) of one of his old patients shows up. Nicole Kidman, queen of these kind of ice cold thrillers, also stars.

The Favourite (2018)

It was the film that won Olivia Colman her first Oscar, and took the world by storm in 2018. Colman played Queen Anne, the chronically ill English Queen who reigned from 1702 to 1714 and lived a life marred by sadness, with only five of her 17 pregnancies leading to live-born children, and none living past the age of 11.

In The Favourite, Lanthimos's approached the unhappy subject with his typical dark edge, producing an eccentric, hilarious, farcical and scabrous award-winning film. In Australian writer Tony McNamara's reimagining of the period, which also featured exquisite turns from Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn and Mark Gatiss, Queen Anne's lover Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) finds a rival in the very charming new courtier Abigail Hill (Emma Stone) and the games begin.

Dogtooth (2009)

We thought long and hard about whether Dogtooth or The Favourite should take second place. Dogtooth won out in the end because, despite all of the later film's accolades, Dogtooth was the film that put Lanthimos on the map. It's a scorcher: weird, distressing, funny, thought-provoking, creepy, brilliant.

The psychological thriller, which won the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2009, and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010, tells the story of a household in which the parents have never let their children, who are now adults, out into the outside world. Their home, predictably, is a very strange place indeed.

Poor Things (2023)

Poor Things is Lanthimos's best work yet: not only were the reviews have been astonishingly complimentary and Stone received an Best Actress Oscar for her work, but the film did what all the best films do, and provoked a load of debate – in this case about feminism and self-determination.

When the film, which is an adaptation of Alasdair Gray's 1992 novel, premiered at Venice Film Festival in September, The Standard said: "Dealing with issues of patriarchy, ownership and feminism, as well as philosophical debates about human nature, not to mention the thorny issue of prostitution and sexual freedom, this is a fascinating and entertaining ride."

Kind of Kindness will premiere at Cannes in May