Sweden | Germany | France | Denmark, 2017
Opening October 19, 2017
Directed by: Ruben Östlund
Writing credits: Ruben Östlund
Principal actors: Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, Terry Notary, Christopher Laesso
Christian Nielsen (Bang), the smart curator of the Stockholm X-Royal-Museum, is enthusiastically preparing the next big exhibition “The Square”. This interactive installation of a four-by-four-meter square is meant to represent a morally safe zone for any person regardless of gender, age or color. If you step into the square you will be respected, protected and cared for. This is the theory … but now follows the reality.
On his way to work Christian gets mugged. In order to retrieve his money and phone he decides on an unorthodox method. Having found out the address of the thief he sends threatening letters to all the occupants of the high-rise building. This sets a number of unexpected reactions into motion. His private life starts to unravel. The one-night stand with Anne (Moss), a determined art journalist, gets troublesome. His PR campaign turns into a disaster. As the action continues, Christian stumbles from one wrong decision to the next. Comic situations become sad and tragic and even psychologically cruel.
Swedish director Ruben Östlund is challenging our understanding of the art world. In the gallery the neon sign “you have nothing” is staring at us next to the carefully arranged piles of gravel which a cleaner – understandably – wants to sweep away. This poignant satirical drama exposes the hypocrisy of our present times in an entertaining way (focusing on the main protagonist Christian). It is weird, humorous and well-paced, culminating in a gripping finale. (Birgit S.)