As expected, Sweden has selected “The Square,” director Ruben Östlund’s Cannes prize-winner, as its official 2018 Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film. The outrageous satire of the art world starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and Terry Notary will play at both the Toronto and New York film festivals.
Östlund’s follow-up to “Force Majeure” wound up the surprise Palme d’Or winner. “The Square” (Magnolia Pictures) is a brilliantly entertaining takedown of the art world, as world-class Stockholm museum director (Claes Bang) encounters a series of unsettling setbacks to his illustrious career, losing control of his increasingly messy life. In one hilarious subplot, after sex with an American journalist (witty “The Handmaid’s Tale” star Elisabeth Moss), they tussle over his condom. In another memorable sequence, a man with Tourette’s Syndrome interrupts an artist (Dominic West) as he’s trying to answer pretentious questions — “Garbage!” “Asshole!” — and the audience attempts to be politically correct.
Perhaps the third time will be the charm, as Östlund did not land Oscar nominations for “Involuntary” (2009) or Golden Globe nominee “Force Majeure” (2014), which was one of nine films to make the initial Oscar shortlist. Östlund’s devastated video reaction to the snub went viral (see below). Östlund stated that he “hopes it’s less painful this time around.”
Magnolia Pictures, which pre-bought “The Square” and also distributed “Force Majeure,” will release the film in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, October 27, Followed by a national rollout.