Ruben Östlund

Scen.: Ruben Östlund. F.: Fredrik Wenzel. M.: Jacob Secher Schulsinger, Ruben Östlund. Scgf.: Josefin Åsberg. Int.: Claes Bang (Christian), Elisabeth Moss (Anne), Dominic West (Julian), Terry Notary (Oleg), Christopher Læssø (Michael), Lise Stephenson Engström (Lise), Lilianne Mardon (Lilly), Marina Schiptjenko (Elna), Annica Liljeblad (Sonja), Elijandro Edouard (il bambino). Prod.: Philippe Bober, Erik Hemmendorff per Plattform Produktion AB. DCP. D.: 152’. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Nothing seems to fascinate the writer and director Ruben Östlund more than the life cycle of a bad decision. Early on in his new film The Square, which won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the well-to-do museum curator Christian (Claes Bang) takes it upon himself to right a perceived wrong: the theft of his cellphone… The Square goes on to poke further at the bubbles of entitlement and stuffy notions of polite ness that guide supposedly upstanding folk into moments of madness…
The “square” of the film’s title is a new art installation, a simple physical border (four meters by four meters) … It’s   a piece of art asking why such a space should need to exist, why it would be   so painfully small, and how one would even share “rights and obligations” when gender, racial, and class disparities are so shamefully apparent in Western society? Though Christian is interested in these questions, in his personal life he seems as lost as anyone, stumbling from one mor al gray area to the next.
The genius of Östlund’s writing, and his careful staging of each major set piece, is that he’s never inviting the audience to sit back and simply laugh at the ridiculousness. He wants viewers to identify with the characters – to see themselves in their frustration and sometimes peculiar decision making, and in Christian’s propensity to offend even when he’s striving to do just the opposite… Why is some behavior automatically more acceptable if it’s part of a performance, and where does the line between depiction and endorse ment fall? […] Östlund isn’t interested in providing clean (or any) answers but poses the questions with skill and relish.
The Square could easily feel like a piece of performance art itself, particularly because its story is so aimless, bouncing in different directions in pursuit of the themes that most intrigue Östlund. But the film works because it doesn’t come off as empty provocation; every maddening choice evolves in ways viewers can understand, even if they’re grimacing as they watch. The Square   is darkly amusing, but it’s also bracingly honest in its absurdity, and that’s what kept me coming back to each one of its wonderfully knotty scenarios even months after seeing it.

David Sims, “The Atlantic”, 24 October 2017

Copy From