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Cannes Compétition Prospectus – The Square

The Square

Ruben Östlund

Sweden, Denmark, United States, France

cos squ


“[Ruben] Östlund skillfully ties his many ideas together and makes his statement in the end: Humankind has been losing many of its defining qualities; trust and dependability being chief among them. His film is this year’s Toni Erdmann in more ways than one: a unique sense of humor reigns over The Square’s long running time that simply flies by, even on less than four hours of sleep. What could possibly be a higher compliment?” – Tomris Laffly (Film Journal)

“Just as “Force Majeure” used a barren mountaintop to evoke its family’s confused mindset, the setting is a critical part of this movie’s selling point. Shot with crisp, bright lighting that emphasizes the gallery’s open spaces… Ostlund is on sturdiest ground when mapping out a keen satire of the art world. The movie lands a single, brilliant set piece in an awkward bit of dinner theater performance art that goes horribly wrong.” – Eric Kohn (IndieWire)

“The episodic nature of “The Square” recalls a hybrid mix of “Leos Carax’ “Holy Motors” and Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” in its unrestrained attempt at a comedy of manners. It works brilliantly, for the most part, as Ostlund stages one crazed set-piece after another, upping the ante with every one until we arrive to a high-Brow museum dinner featuring a monkey-man terrorizing its guests.” – Jordan Ruimy (World of Reel)


Ruben Östlund won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize for the thoroughly engaging Force Majeure. The exuberance and sheer nerve of The Square will have some gravity here with the jury, to which prize it could / should win is a very tough call indeed. Perhaps a sweeping impact, the film still has a fairly strong chance at a prize, but as the comparisons to Toni Erdmann continue it could come away empty-handed. With Maren Ade’s influence on the jury, Östlund winning Best Director would be no surprise.


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