Leyla (42), a lawyer and a poet, takes the long-distance train to attend her high school reunion dinner. On the train, she meets Canan (21), a young nursing student in distress. As the ... See full summary »
In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist's final letter and ends up investigating his final days there.
Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is "The Square", an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes, it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian's foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the museum's PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for "The Square". The response is overblown and sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis.
The preliminary study of "The Square" was "Rutan" (The Square), an exhibition at Vandalorum in Värnamo, Sweden, in spring 2015, where director Ruben Östlund and film producer Kalle Boman wanted to examine the trust we feel towards each other. Pictures from the exhibition are included in the film. See more »
During the press conference, the time displayed on Christian's LCD watch is clearly visible and jumps from 14:53 to 15:50 when we cut to a participant who asks a very short question. See more »
The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.
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More on the "human condition" from director Ruben Östlund
"The Square" (2017 release from Sweden; 142 min.) brings the story of Christian, the chief curator of a Swedish museum. As the movie opens, he is interviewed by Anna, an American journalist. Afterwards, as he is walking outside, a woman runs up to him screaming "help me! He's going to kill me". Christian and another bystander are bale to fend off the apparent enraged boyfriend. After the tumult, Christian realizes his wallet and mobile were stolen, but with the help of a staff member, he can track down the cell phone's location. Meanwhile the museum is starting an ambitious new project called The Square, a 12x12 ft. square meant to be a "sanctuary of trust and care". The museum staff is thinking of ways to publicize the new project. At this point we're 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest film from writer-director Ruben Östlund, whose previous film, the outstanding "Force Majeure", was a major surprise in 2014 in the best possible way. Here the director again examines the human condition and how people react to situations they did not expect. In that sense, "The Square" is entirely in line with "Force Majeure", although it is also clear that for "The Square" the ambitions were put on steroids. One of the beauties of the film is that Östlund lets entire scenes play out without feeling the need to change camera angles or other editing tricks. Love it, love it, love it. Beware, there definitely are a number of scenes that may make you feel uncomfortable (as I'm sure the director intended to make you feel), but overall I felt bedazzled by it all. Danish actor Claes Bang (who keeps reminding me of Pierce Brosnan) plays the role of Christian with fervor, but in my book Terry Holland (playing the actor as the chimp, in the pivotal scene of the movie) steals the show. That scene alone is worth seeing the movie. Mustn't say more.
"The Square" premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival and promptly won the Palm d'Or, the festival's top price. It finally opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati this weekend, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday evening screening where I saw this at was attended OK but not great (looked to be about 10-15 people in total), which is unfortunate. Maybe strong word-of-mouth will help improve attendance. If you are interested in the "human condition", or loved "Force Majeure", you are in for a treat. I encourage you to check out "The Square", be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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