Winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or, Ruben Östlund’s The Square is an astounding work of social satire centred on a Swedish art museum and a PR stunt that goes horribly wrong. Starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Terry Notary.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
We open our 49th edition with a blast: Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winner, a sprawling, jaw-dropping satire centred on a Swedish museum curator (Claes Bang), an exhibit, a stolen phone and an American journalist (Elisabeth Moss).
“The Square [is] a sardonic, darkly funny picture about a dashing museum curator whose dysfunctional institution is a microcosm of the larger world. Can art, or the tools used to promote it, cross the bounds of moral responsibility? What does it take to jog the upper classes out of their comfortable insularity? The Square is both outlandishly funny and biting – and features a fascinating and sometimes disturbing performance by Terry Notary, the gifted actor and [Hobbit] movement choreographer.” — Stephanie Zacharek, Time
“The Square is set in the rarefied reaches of Sweden’s art world, but from that vantage point takes pot shots at marketing, the media, the Swedish culture of militant political correctness as well as the pretension, self-deception, and pseudospeak of the cultural elite…
While the targets are many and Östlund, admirably, almost always punches up, there is a kind of organizing principle relating to the chasm between the social faces we wear and the self-interested creatures we really are. Snip by snip, in scenarios dripping with acidly observed discomfort, Östlund clips precisely through the barbed-wire barrier fences of culture, sophistication and socialization that refined middle-class modern humans erect between our public selves and our private, animal natures.” — Jessica Kiang, The Playlist