saw ‘triangle of sadness’ by ruben ostlund, then went back and watched ‘the square’ again. will rewatch ‘force majeure’ as well. what a brilliant, hilarious, provocative filmmaker. have been thinking about his work and how to encapsulate it. he likes to invert or complicate what is ‘normal.’ he strips away western society’s veneer of civilization, exposes its violent vulgar core, and pokes holes in what is considered the social contract.
he does this stylistically as well, by inserting sounds and visual disturbances in his scenes (an elevator door that keeps closing in the middle of an intense convo, baby cries during a marketing pitch, chairs crashing to the ground while a couple confront each other after an awkward one-night stand, etc).
he reaches for some of the mightiest, most glittery symbols of high culture (modern art, fashion, even winter sports), roots them out from their aesthetic safe place, and reveals the social rot, money, privilege, and absurdity they engender.
his films are always set in exclusive, elitist contexts – a bougie ski resort, a contemporary art museum, a luxury yacht – where the rich and beautiful prance and prevaricate about their wealth. a russian capitalist who quotes ronald reagan, a cute old couple who’ve made their fortune as arms dealers, a museum curator who is proudly liberal but couldn’t cut it without the privileges he wields, art collectors and aristos who remain paralyzed in the face of an assault on one of their own, how power hierarchies can be flipped like a switch, how the elite are completely bereft of survival skills, ideas of masculinity, the marginalization of people of color, horrors of the service industry, capitalism and homelessness, capitalism and art, beauty as trade and industry, the list goes on.
there’s always so much to unpack.