Director Ruben Östlund on his Swedish satire 'The Square'
Hollywood chased after Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund following his well-received 2014 film Force Majeure. But Östlund isn't so sure he wants to be caught. He tells KCRW's Matt Holzman about staying in Scandinavia and his new movie The Square, a satirical dramedy that is his second film selected as Sweden's foreign language submission to the Oscars.
Swedish director Ruben Östlund's new movie The Square is a darkly comedic satire that follows Christian, a suave curator at a modern art museum who has trouble living up to his self-proclaimed ideals. It's also his second movie Sweden has selected to submit to the Oscars in the foreign language category. KCRW's Matt Holzman talks to Östlund about watching -- and creating -- viral videos, going from making ski films to social satires, and how he ended up casting Elisabeth Moss in The Square, even though he originally wanted a Scandinavian actress for the part.
Photo: Director Ruben Östlund on the set of The Square. (Magnolia Pictures)
The new film The Square, is a darkly funny satire that follows Christian, played by Danish actor Claes Bang. Christian is a suave, high-minded curator of a modern art museum in Stockholm.
After his wallet and phone are stolen, Christian finds that it isn't so easy to live up to his ideals as he seeks out a bit of vigilante justice.
The writer and director of The Square is Ruben Östlund, a filmmaker who got on the radar in Hollywood with his 2014 film Force Majeure. That movie won the Jury Prize at Cannes and made the shortlist for best foreign language film at the Oscars. You may have seen the viral video from when Östlund learned his film did not get nominated.
Östlund returned to Cannes this year with The Square -- which won the top prize, the Palme d'Or. And, once again, Sweden has selected his film at its entry in the foreign language category at the Oscars.
Östlund recently sat down with KCRW's Matt Holzman. They talked about viral videos (both watching and creating them), how Östlund's time making ski movies influences his work today, and why the idea of going to Hollywood makes him nervous. Östlund also shares why he loves awkward situations and wanted to work so many of them into The Square, which is rolling into theaters now.