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The Square

(Sweden; most of the film is in English): Christian (Claes Bang, who appears to be a newcomer and is quite good) is a curator of a museum, and his latest showing, the Square, is meant to be a provocative piece about trust: “The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it, we all share equal rights and obligations.” At the beginning of the film, he is interviewed by Anne (Elizabeth Moss) and asked about a quote from the museum’s website, which is a long, abstract piece of artistic “culturebabble” that he doesn’t understand either and makes up an explanation. This scene launches a film that provides a satirical look at the artistic world. The movie is difficult to describe. It is hilarious and pretty much bashes political and social correctness; there is an interview scene in which a man with Tourette Syndrome is blurting out obscenities that is at once disturbing and hilarious. There are various directions the story takes, which are centered on the art world, but that explore themes such as class difference, male power, objectification in art, and the widening distance between those who hold power in art and the objects of that art. The acting is solid, and some of the shots are stunning regarding their artistic beauty. Thumbs up for a film that I found very funny and extremely thought-provoking; I was thinking about the movie long after I left the theater. However, I don’t know that I would recommend it to everyone given its abstractness and very unusual style of humor. The director is the same who filmed Force Majeure a couple of years ago, which I think was a better film, but if you liked that movie and its style, this one might appeal as well.

About Gary Burkholder

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