Sweden; Directed by Ruben Östlund
Director & Writer: Ruben Östlund
Producers: Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober
Cinematography: Fredrik Wenzel
Editors: Ruben Östlund & Jacob Secher Schulsinger
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: October 27, 2017 (Telluride)
Run-time: 151 minutes
FILM SYNOPSIS: Hoping to promote his contemporary art museum, curator Christian showcases an installation about altruism. Christian soon has more than he can cope with, however, when a publicity stunt goes awry, his cellphone and wallet are stolen and he enters into a fraught relationship with an American journalist.
Early on, without having seen the film, I believe “The Square” to be the front-runner for winning Best Foreign Language Feature. It had won the top prize at Cannes film and many national critics awards had named it their best of the year as well. I pictured a battle between it and the Diane Kruger led “In The Fade,” which won the Golden Globe Award for the same category. When “In The Fade” did not get an Academy Award nomination, I began to think that “The Square” had it in the bag. But then buzz about “A Fantastic Woman” started rising. That film had not actually won anything yet and despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, it was mostly overlooked. But that film, about a transgendered woman dealing with the aftermath of the death of her older lover, seemed to have its finger on a particular pulse of our country at the moment.
“The Square,” although entertaining, almost takes its opinions on certain things too literal. It makes comments on society as a whole, with our dependence on technology, our lack of humanity for the homeless, our odd “hook up” culture, and specifically our takes on what is deemed as art. What I originally thought “The Square” and “In The Fade” mostly had going for them was a cast of recognizable actors and actresses, with Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and motion capture king Terry Notary all starring in “The Square” and Diane Kruger starring in “In The Fade,” but as proved with the latter, that did not matter too much. Elevating the transgender community, however, in a time where hating and closeting are on the rise especially with who we have in office, seems like a much bigger deal than making observations about certain aspects of our society. What the Academy deems important at the moment will have to be seen.
Personally, “Loveless” and “On Body and Soul” are also powerful and captivating films. “Loveless” makes a very real portrayal of a missing child with strong performances from its two leads while “On Body and Soul” develops a very unique love story between its strong leads. If I were voting for the Oscars, my vote would likely go to one of those two, but I believe the buzz is behind “The Square” and “A Fantastic Woman” too much to deny one of them a win.
|1960 (33rd)||“The Virgin Spring”||Won||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1961 (34th)||“Through A Glass Darkly”||Won||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1964 (37th)||“Raven’s End”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1965 (38th)||“Dear John”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1969 (42nd)||“Ådalen ’31”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1971 (44th)||“The Emigrants”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1972 (45th)||“The New Land”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1982 (55th)||“The Flight Of The Eagle”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1983 (56th)||“Fanny And Alexander”||Won||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1991 (64th)||“The Ox”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1995 (68th)||“All Things Fair”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|1999 (72nd)||“Under The Sun”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|2003 (76th)||“Evil”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|2004 (77th)||“As It Is In Heaven”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|2016 (89th)||“A Man Called Ove”||Nominated||Best Foreign Language Feature|
|Films Left||Days Left|