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‘Triangle of Sadness’: Ruben Östlund Reveals Details of ‘The Square’ Follow-Up

The Palme d'Or winner's next project could be his strangest.

Ruben Ostlund

Ruben Ostlund

David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

After his Palme d’Or win two years ago, Ruben Östlund has been tasked with following up the most successful film of his career. He’ll do that with “Triangle of Sadness,” a dark comedy about a supermodel power couple that marks the Swedish auteur’s English-language debut. Speaking to Variety in Cannes, the writer-director revealed that the cast is his most high-profile yet and “the goal with the film was to create an ensemble that is like Real Madrid” — though he’s yet to reveal who’s actually part of that ensemble.

“Triangle of Sadness” takes place on an elite cruise that goes awry when the Marxist captain “sets out to punish his spoiled passengers by staging a grand dinner during a violent storm, where a combination of food poisoning and seasickness has extreme effects on their digestion” — an out-there premise to be sure, but one in line with the “Force Majeure” director’s prior work.

“The captain is a Marxist and there is a reason for that: Marx had theories that are really useful when you are trying to understand the world and why we act as we act,” he said. “From a thematic point of view, it is going to focus on how our behavior changes [depending on] which position we have in an economic structure.”

Östlund added, “I am going to take as my starting point that these models — with their [good] looks — have a currency that makes them able to climb in a class society.”

“The Square” earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Foreign-Language Film, with the prizes ultimately going to “A Fantastic Woman” and “In the Fade,” respectively.

The plot gets zanier from there: “When they are shipwrecked on an island, the power dynamic changes with a cleaning lady suddenly gaining an elevated status as she is the only one who can supply food to the marooned glitterati.”

As with his earlier efforts, Östlund hopes to inspire debate and discussion among viewers. “There is one reason why we watch films together: it is because we need content that we can talk about when we are leaving the cinema,” he said. “We need to have a problem for the audience that they can relate to.”

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