Have you ever YouTube’d “Worst man-cry ever”? Not even once? “Force Majeure” writer-director Ruben Östlund has. But he did it as research for a scene in which protagonist Tomas cries.
Östlund revealed this and much more while perusing The Criterion Collection’s DVD closet recently, where he discussed not only his own films and inspiration, but his thoughts on many of the titles on the shelf. For example, he really likes Catherine Breillat’s 2001 film, “Fat Girl,” but much prefers the original French title — “À Ma Soeur!” (To My sister) — instead. On the other hand, he was delighted to see that Criterion sells Vittorio De Sica’s “The Bicycle Thief” as “Bicycle Thieves,” which Östlund claims is a much better, in fact “the right” title.
As for his experiences on set, Östlund recalls a tough decision he met with while shooting a short, “Autobiographical Scene Number 6882” back in 2005. An elaborate setup required the construction of a tower to get a camera angle that, as soon as the director saw it through the lens, he knew in his gut he would never use. He faced a dilemma, an “inner conflict” as he tells it. Should he ask the crew to take down the tower and face a loss of trust — perhaps even a “mutiny” — from the crew? Or would it be better to go ahead with the take and call for reshoots later, during editing?
You can view Östlund’s visit to Criterion below and find out what he learned from the ‘Autobiographical Scene’ incident, courtesy of The Criterion Collection.