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Film / The Square

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The Square is a 2017 film from Sweden by Ruben Östlund which received a Palme d'Or on the Cannes film festival of the same year.

The film tells a story of Christian, an art manager at a prestigous art museum, who faces several challenges in his life. He deals with them in a controversial way and the results are frequently mixed. Meanwhile, Christian's aloofness causes problems at the museum, including how to promote the titular art piece.

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Elisabeth Moss plays Anne, and delivers her dialogue in English.

Shouldn't be confused with both the 2008 and 2013 films of the same name.


Tropes

  • The Atoner: What Christian becomes in the end, apologizing for the ad for "The Square" and to inadvertently causing The Boy to fall down a flight of stairs.
  • Black Comedy: This film is one of the driest forms of cringe comedy out there.
  • Bystander Syndrome: A performance art piece at a fancy dinner has the artist running around with arm extension crutches, screaming and acting like a wild ape. A pre-recorded message before his entrance in the dining hall suggests everyone stay perfectly still and avoid eye contact to not be singled out by the performer's antics. This only goes so well for so long.
  • The Determinator: The Boy. He will stop at nothing to get an apology out of Christian for blaming him for his missing wallet and phone.
  • The Ditz:
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    • Christian is so busy dealing with his owner minor problems that he doesn't realize his career is being set up for failure behind his back. He repeatedly shows failure in understanding other people.
  • The American journalist who interviews Christian, especially when she confronts him over the two of them having had sex.
  • Hollywood Tourette's: Averted with the Tourette's Man, who has both verbal and motor tics. His Tourette's also becomes more intense as more people turn their attention to it.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted by the ad for "The Square", which features a homeless child and her kitten being blown up once they step inside it.
  • Overly Long Gag: Every joke goes on for several minutes of runtime.
  • Spiritual Successor: The film is this to the works of Roy Andersson. Several scenes are shot in the manner characteristic for Andersson.
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  • Short Con: The main character is robbed in broad daylight by a woman convinced that someone is about to attack her.
  • Threat Backfire: Christian blankets an apartment building with letters telling the recipient that he will come after them if his phone and wallet are not returned. One boy's parents' take the letter very seriously, and the boy opts to get payback on Christian for it.
  • Viral Marketing: A disastrous video is created for "The Square".
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