Scene from "The Square"

Terry Notary in The Square (2017)

Following the Golden Globe nominee Force Majeure, Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund presents his latest work, The Square, which was awarded the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The film, which also features Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West, is now competing as Sweden’s submission for the foreign-language Golden Globe Award.

By making some of the most serious comedies in the world today, movies that combine outrageously funny satire with provocative big ideas, Östlund has surprised, impacted, disturbed and provoked both the audience and the critics. In The Square, a witty and daringly surreal satire, the filmmaker explores the boundaries of political correctness, artistic liberty, and free speech.

Its protagonist, Christian (Claes Bang) is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum in Stockholm. He is the epitome of the stylish European media professional, a divorced but devoted father of two, who supports good causes, but sometimes has difficulties living up to his own values and ideals. One morning, on the way to work, his cell phone and wallet are stolen. His foolish response to the theft triggers a series of consequences that push his respectable and elegant existence into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the Museum PR team is working on an unusual, challenging and provocative campaign for The Square, an art installation, delimited by a luminous perimeter, an enclosed space in which people share equal rights and duties and are told to behave responsibly.

“I wanted to make an elegant movie, with visual and rhetorical devices to provoke and entertain viewers,” explains the filmmaker, adding that he drew from the ethics of reciprocity that appears in nearly every religion as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Östlund was born in 1974 in Styrsö, a small island on the West Coast of Sweden. He studied graphic design before enrolling at the University of Gothenburg, where he met Erik Hemmendorff with whom he later founded Plattform Produktion. An avid skier, Östlund directed three ski films, alluding to his taste for long sequence shots, which to this day remains an important trademark of his work.

His debut feature film The Guitar Mongoloid won the FIPRESCI Award at Moscow in 2005. His second feature, Involuntary awarded Ruben international recognition, while his third feature film Play (2011) was awarded the ‘Coup de cœur’ Prize in Cannes. He also premiered his fourth feature film, Force Majeure in Cannes, where it was awarded the Jury Prize, before going on to a Golden Globe nomination.