“The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.”
So says the plaque in front of the new art exhibit at a prestigious art museum in Sweden. Christian (Claes Bang), curator of the museum, explains to everyone who will listen the importance of The Square and its call to social responsibility. And so begins the array of experiences in director Ruben Östlund’s newest film that cultivate the phenomenon of not just art, but presentation.
Often, personal art and the art of presenting go hand in hand. A chef presents his dish in the best way possible, for example, because he wants the participant to fully enjoy it. But that is outward art—what of inward art? What façade do we craft and hone to present to the world? What behaviors do we want people to see, what part of our lives do we want visible? How do we present ourselves?
Östlund explores these thoughts in “The Square.” At times awkwardly hilarious, and at other times extremely uncomfortable, “The Square” teaches us a little about humanity and elitism and how intrinsically connected (and not always in a positive way) we are to our art.
For those who caught “Force Majeure” a few years ago, or any of Östlund’s works, you know his enjoyment in taking jabs at the elite and the systemic issues wrapped up in the lives of those with privilege—and he twists the knife in as far as it will go.
This trademark is represented perfectly in “The Square.” The story follows Christian in a personal disaster. After writing a threatening letter to the inhabitants of an entire apartment building in an attempt to get back a stolen phone and wallet, Christian must deal with a young boy who demands he apologize to his parents for calling him a thief. But this event removes his focus from his job, where the PR team is cooking up an inappropriate video advertisement for The Square.
Disaster will, of course, ensue, and each character navigates the disparity between altruism and self-centeredness in increasingly uncomfortable capacities. This is a film that will have you bursting into laughter one minute and cringing the next. Bang does a masterful job of complicating the story arc of the would-be hero, and his supporting cast—Elizabeth Moss, Dominic West, Christopher Læsso and Terry Notary, to name a few—create a rich, thought-provoking world to sink your teeth into, with so many little scenes and secondary plot points leaving an impression.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see “The Square” on the big screen. It starts at Midtown Cinema on March 2.
Red Carpet Evening
Sunday, March 4
Red carpet at 7 p.m.
Down in Front!
Friday, March 9, 9:30 p.m.
Women’s History Month Series
“The Women” (1939)
Sunday, March 11, 2:30 p.m.
“Little Women” (1994)
Sunday, March 18, 2:30 p.m.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)
Sunday, March 25, 2:30 p.m.
3rd in the Burg $3 Movie
“A League Of Their Own” (1992)
Friday, March 16, 9:30 p.m.