“How much inhumanity does it take before we access your humanity?”, The brilliant Ruben Ostlund’s latest movie – THE SQUARE surprise winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or (2017) is a knock out mockery of these three simple phenomenon that happens with everyone in everyday life – thought, feeling and expression that results in action.
What happens when the order changes which is a routine nowadays and the communication goes horribly wrong. And most important why does the communication goes wrong when we all in our esteemed sense of intelligence and understanding are suppose to treat everyone as equals, disregard bias in our celebrated and self boosted social context, cultural awareness, misconception, prejudice and pride.
THE SQUARE is a potent and certainly the most important satire to come in recent times, Ruben Östlund’s movie is a not just a piece of cinematic brilliance, it serves as a fodder of thought, provokes discussion and instigates a sense of self interrogation and mind you it is bound to have diverse opinions and that’s the movie’s biggest triumph.
As the protagonist Christian (Claes Bang) says, “The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations”, the movie is a wakeup call on all the shouts of political correctness, the boundaries of art and the limitations that needs to be considered while enjoying our freedom of expression.
Christian (Claes Bang) 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.
Like Ruben Ostlund’s previous films, THE SQUARE also has its share on its attack on masculinity (FORCE MAJEURE), the complexities of a reaction in response to an action/situation whether taken or not taken INVOLUNTARY and adds stand out moments laced with humour which is sometimes funny, dark, silly, horrifying with toppings of absurdity, smartness, and that ‘art’ in artlessness.
The museum’s PR company’s outrageous understanding of the campaign resulting in a horrifying video that slaps the bizarre rush to sensationalize everything just to gather eyeballs left and right.
The launch party scene that features Terry Notary (who did motion capture work on the PLANET OF THE APES movies) reacting his chimp brain act with the affluent crowd and gradually becomes more and more aggressive to such an extent that he gets bashed by the so called sophisticated gentlemen wearing designer suits.
The exceptional scene is a befitting statement on the boundaries of art that needs to be drawn and the irony that in showing their human side in protecting a woman from the clutches of the guy who is playing the chimp for fun, the elite gathering at the launch party had actually gone inhuman.
THE SQUARE is a compulsory watch, Ruben Ostlund movie is certainly for the true connoisseurs of art, remarkably when you watch the movie, the movie is watching you as if it knows how the hell you expressed yourself last time.