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From 400,000 gigabytes to 30: The Square by Ruben Östlund

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- The Swedish director's fourth feature to take part in the Cannes Film Festival is described as “a poignant satirical drama reflecting our times”

From 400,000 gigabytes to 30: The Square by Ruben Östlund
Swedish director Ruben Östlund with Tiby, the chimpanzee from The Square (© Tobias Henriksson)

“Relief! A bit like when the referee blows the final whistle after an incredibly evenly matched game, which finally ends in victory. I had a feeling it would happen – after all, we have made a very good film,” said Swedish director Ruben Östlund when it was announced yesterday that his fifth feature, The Square [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
, had been selected for competition at the Cannes International Film Festival (17-28 May – read the news).

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Also scripted by Östlund and described as “a poignant satirical drama reflecting our times, about the sense of community, moral courage and the affluent person's need for egocentricity in an increasingly uncertain world,” The Square will be his fourth film to take part in Cannes – in 2011, his Play [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ruben Östlund
interview: Ruben Ostlund
film profile
]
won the Coup de Coeur Award in the Directors' Fortnight, and his Force Majeure [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
(2014) received the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard, adding a Golden Globe nomination and six Guldbagges, Sweden's national film prize. Prior to that, his Involuntary [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Erik Hemmendorff
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
took part in Un Certain Regard in 2008.

“It’s exciting to have a gala premiere at the Théâtre Lumière, with a DJ-clad audience – there are scenes in the film that are specifically created for such a screening… I won't say any more; I hope you will understand,” added the director, who – together with editor Jacob Secher Schulsinger – has cut 400,000 gigabytes of material down to 30 for the version that will be launched in Sweden on 25 August by TriArt Film.

The Square is set at a modern-art museum (and inspired by an installation of that name that he himself made for his first exhibition). A few days before the opening of a prestigious exhibition, its successful curator is mugged, which he will neither shake off nor let pass unnoticed: he embarks on a hunt for the perpetrator. He has hired a PR agency to promote the upcoming event, which takes an unexpected turn and plunges both him and the museum into a crisis – while at the same time, his hunt for his assailant lands him in situations that turn steadily more amusing and make him question his own moral compass.

Starring Sweden's Claes Bang and Denmark's Christopher Læssø, with British actor Dominic West and American actress Elisabeth Moss, the drama was produced by Erik Hemmendorff for Plattform Produktion, with support from the Swedish Film Institute. Paris-based Coproduction Office handles the international sales. “I think Östlund's film paves the way for an interesting future for Swedish film in general,” concluded the institute's managing director, Anna Serner.

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