Mavropsaridis Discusses His "Favourite" Challenges
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, ACE
Editor shares insights into his collaborative relationship with director Yorgos Lanthimos
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Editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis, ACE has enjoyed a fruitful collaborative relationship with director Yorgos Lanthimos, their latest feature being The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) which recently garnered 10 Academy Award nominations, tying it with Roma for the most this year.

Among those Oscar nods was one for Best Editing, the first of Mavropsaridis’ career. The Favourite has also landed him BAFTA, British Independent Film Award and American Cinema Editors Eddie Award nominations. The latter was his second career Eddie nom, the first coming in 2017 for Lanthimos’ The Lobster.

The Favourite, Lanthimos’ first period film, introduces us to three strong female leads--Olivia Colman as Britain’s Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz as her life-long intimate friend and political advisor Lady Sarah, and Emma Stone as Abigail, Sarah’s impoverished cousin turned social-climbing chambermaid. A dark yet comic story, The Favourite pits Lady Sarah against Abigail for the favor of Queen Anne, who has her own issues. This story of three women jockeying for power--in the throes of a dysfunctional love triangle--somehow feels contemporary, shedding light on human nature, foibles and desires.

Mavropsaridis assessed that The Favourite, like all of Lanthimos’ projects, carries special challenges. The editor observed, “Lanthimos’ films in comparison to others I edit, are exceptionally challenging, as he is as a director challenging his collaborators to do more than their best. The challenge has always to do with finding the aesthetic means pertaining to the ‘Lanthimic’ universe to narrate the events, with the emphasis on how they are narrated, which appropriate aesthetic means are employed, with the aim to add depth to the spectator’s experiencing of the film.”

And fashioning that experience springs from the editor and director’s long running experience with one another over the years. Mavropsaridis recalled how he first met Lanthimos and their ensuing, ongoing collaborative relationship. 

“After I graduated from the London International Film School I returned to Athens and started working in the newly developing Greek film ‘industry’ for commercials,” related Mavropsaridis. “There I had the chance to collaborate with some of the older generation of the most interesting filmmakers of the time, doing TV commercials mainly to finance their films. There also I met Y.L. editing many of his commercials and all his feature films (including The Killing of A Sacred Deer). What brought us closer with each film was exactly this, our aim being to work in the commercial industry only to finance our first very low budget films and dedicate all the time between commercials to edit his films, no deadline, no purpose other than to find the narrative language of the specific films, ourselves and our work the only challenge. In the process and quite early we found the method we usually follow, and we follow it in all its phases meticulously. Thanks to Y.L.’s same understanding and need, we still follow this way, even on the bigger budgeted films, us and the challenge of finding the specific film’s narrative language, only now we get paid better, and we don’t need to do commercials in between, not that many anyway, and definitely not when we edit together.”

As for his biggest takeaway or lesson learned from his experience on The Favourite, Mavropsaridis shared, “That by overcoming the challenges posed, insisting to the end and trying till the end, has to do with overcoming obstacles inside you, long formed habits of thought that need to be overcome continuously.”

In addition to Best Editing, the Oscar nominations earned by The Favourite are for Best Picture, Directing, Cinematography (Robbie Ryan, BSC, ISC), Original Screenplay (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara), Production Design (Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton), Costume Design (Sandy Powell), Actress (Olivia Colman), and two for Supporting Actress (Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone),

This is the 13th of a multi-part series with future installments of The Road To Oscar slated to run in the weekly SHOOT>e.dition, The SHOOT Dailies and on, with select installments also in print issues. The series will appear weekly through the Academy Awards gala ceremony. The 91st Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 24, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif.,and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network.  The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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