It won the Palme D’Or at Cannes Film Festival, but The Square was hardly the most hyped film at MAMI this year. A Swedish comedy-drama by Ruben Östlund, it stars Danish actor Claes Bang in the lead role, while Emmy winner Elizabeth Moss and Golden Globe nominee Dominic West play smaller parts. The film was received well internationally, and even at the Mumbai Film Festival, the theatre was ringing in peals of laughter throughout the film. What makes The Square special is that it is both relevant and highly entertaining at the same time. A movie based on art may not be to everybody’s liking, but The Square leaves no room for boredom.
Background and Story:
After the abolition of monarchy in Sweden, the Stockholm Palace is converted into an art museum. Christian (Claes Bang), the curator of the museum, is all set to present his new installation piece, called The Square. It is practically a square on the ground, which symbolizes safety or a place where you can be heard and protected. Meanwhile, Christian’s phone is stolen, which leads to an absurd goose chase landing him in even more trouble. Anne, a journalist Christian had a fling with is also on his tail. Christian is trying to find the balance between his many issues, but it all ends up becoming a colossal mess. The film also explores many other themes reflecting modern age such as the demise of humanity, the wide economic gap, complacency to world issues, and the egocentricity of the rich.
Why You Should Watch:
The Square is basically an absurd comedy. But it strikes the perfect balance between delivering a message, creating a visually beautiful movie, and keeping the audience engaged. Film buffs will love the way the story progresses with random bursts of perfectly timed shots that do not add much to the narrative. Certain scenes do stand out in terms of narrative and cinematography but it’s hard to pick the best. Even the comedy-loving audience will find plenty to enjoy in the film, which makes you laugh out loud with its dry, satirical humor. Many devices have been used in the film, which makes it look a little cluttered and disconnected as a whole, but entertains nevertheless.
If you simply avoid the unnecessary additions and focus on what the film tries to convey, you will see a portrayal of modern society, unlike anything a film has done before. It’s jarring, yes, even a tad flashy (it’s an art museum, after all), but the underlying layers of the story keep playing in your mind long after you’re out of the theatres. We can only hope the film is screened in theatres here, but seems like an Oscar nomination might make that happen. As of now, the film has been selected as the Swedish entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90thAcademy Awards. Now we can just wait and watch!