The Square

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2hr 22mins // directed by:Ruben Östlund // featuring:Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, Terry Notary // in English, Swedish & Dutch with English Subtitles // assisted listening

A precisely observed, thoroughly modern comedy of manners, Ruben Östlund’s (Force Majeure) Palme d’Or–winner revolves around Christian (Claes Bang), a well-heeled contemporary art curator at a Stockholm museum.

While preparing his new exhibit—a four-by-four-meter zone designated as a “sanctuary of trust and caring”—Christian falls prey to a pickpocketing scam, which triggers an overzealous response and then a crisis of conscience. Featuring several instant-classic scenes and a vivid supporting cast (Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and noted motion-capture actor Terry Notary), The Square is the most ambitious film yet by one of contemporary cinema’s most incisive social satirists, the rare movie to have as many laughs as ideas.

"The genius of Östlund’s writing, and his careful staging of each major set piece, is that he’s never inviting the audience to sit back and simply laugh at the ridiculousness. He wants viewers to identify with the characters—to see themselves in their frustration and sometimes peculiar decision-making, and in Christian’s propensity to offend even when he’s striving to do just the opposite." — David Sims, Atlantic</