Three years after winning a major award at the Cannes Film Festival for his darkly comic family drama Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund is back with his first English-language film, which is expected to premiere at this year’s festival. In a recent interview with Variety, the director teased a few details about his new feature, The Square, which stars Dominic West and Elizabeth Moss.
Inspired by Östlund’s own foray into the art world, the film will follow an American artist played by West, as he unveils an installation called ‘The Square’ at a reputable gallery. An advertising firm is then hired to help market this piece, but they choose to create “a nasty PR stunt that is completely opposite to ‘The Square’ and its humanistic message.”
From the sounds of it, this will be another richly satirical offering from the Swedish director, as his fifth feature promises to lampoon the abstract, often pretentious nature of contemporary art. The director explains: “I think the idea of art is getting lost on this theoretical level. Of course, I’m attacking that.”
But Östlund has taken care to emphasise that the film’s scope will be much wider than insider mockery of the art world, revealing: “I’m making fun of everyone. I’m very thorough in that way. No one escapes from this satiric approach”.
He has also candidly revealed that both West and Moss were, “quite lost in the beginning” [of the shoot] and that it took them a while to adapt to his meticulous and lengthy approach to filmmaking. And while The Square signals Östlund’s intent to make films for a broader international audience, he is apparently determined to keep working in Sweden where he can retain “control” of his own projects.
Published 6 Feb 2017
American writer/director Alex Ross Perry returns with this superlative housebound psychodrama.
By Neil Young
This ski-based family drama from Swedish writer/director Ruben Östlund doesn’t quite reach its intended peak.