I am an academic and writer living in Melbourne. I love to travel and I also love writing about all the things Melbourne, regional Victoria and other parts of Australia have to offer.
Published February 13th 2018
A film for thought
Modern art, a robbery, monkeys, threats and performance, these are all interwoven throughout the award-winning film, The Square. There are too many spoilers to give away the plot in too much detail, but suffice to say, it weaves a number of contemporary and very interesting and relevant themes through it. You will be thinking, talking and perhaps even argue about this film for quite a while afterwards.
Christian(Claes Bang), the main character in the film, is the slick, good-looking, intellectual and very capable curator of a modern-art museum in Stockholm. We get the feeling, in the beginning at least, of an air of superiority about him. A major, somewhat poorly thought-out decision changes his demeanour and he becomes a lot more human and likeable as the film progresses.
The Square has many layers for the viewer to work through. There is the main story of Christian's poor decision but there are also mini-stories, involving the other characters, among these Elisabeth Moss playing a minor, but interesting role. There are broader and very contemporary themes present, of social inequality, social media and the quest for that viral marketing success, performance art and the value and perception of modern art in general.
Funny and awkward moments exist side by side, and absurdity, sarcasm and raw honesty temper any desire to laugh for too long. Viewers may find themselves thinking about their own decisions (especially the poor ones) and their own fumbling and uncertainties in many of the situations presented.
Modern art and our reaction to it underlies much of this film and again some very funny vignettes are portrayed. A sense of pretentiousness and snobbery are lurking in the background too. The 'square' of the film title is a new art exhibition about to be opened in the film and is one of the causes of Christian's predicament.
This is a quirky, at times darkly funny, at other times tense film to watch but in the style of recent Nordic cinema, it gives much food for thought. Written and directed by Ruben Ístlund, The Square is a film to see for those viewers wanting more intellectual engagement than what is normally seen in Holywood-type films.