The Square Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden 2017 – 142min.
A divorced father and curator of a prestigious museum of contemporary art, Christian is a self-confident man. As he prepares a major exhibition for The Square, a conceptual installation that challenges the visitor to question altruism and solidarity, his life takes a catastrophic turn. A wallet is stolen, a promotional video is controversial, an unpredictable American journalist turns up, a gala dinner turns into a disaster, and Christian’s life turns upside down.
Swedish director Ruben Östlund gained notice in 2014 with Snow Therapy, a comedy about a family that implodes when the father reveals himself to be a coward. The Square, winner of the Golden Palm at the last Cannes Film Festival, goes in the same direction: against the backdrop of the strange and absurd world of contemporary art, the filmmaker presents a society unable to communicate, exist or think together. The parallels between a work of modern art, which needs a label to make sense, and characters who can't understand each other are funny and profound. The film’s criticism of the middle class and modern is a little less so, which is the fault of some gags that are a bit too easy. But The Square suffers above all from its over-the-top duration (2:25), which ends up playing against it and its characters (despite the excellent performances), breaking its charm.