Spotlight on: Swedish director Ruben Östlund and his standout films ahead of the release of Triangle of Sadness

Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s eagerly anticipated film Triangle of Sadness gets its UK release this Friday October 28th, and we are happy to report that it certainly lives up to expectations for fans of his movies – and what makes it even more exciting is that it is a little more accessible, being his first English language feature.

Here we put a spotlight on Ruben to find out more about the man behind these masterpieces, and explore some of his standout films that you should watch before or after you catch his latest feature.

Who is Ruben Östlund?

Ruben was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, and studied film there at the University. Prior to this he spent most of his 20s filming ski stunt videos – and here is an interesting fact: Norwegian acclaimed director Joachim Trier (Worst Person in the World) started out making skateboarding videos – so filming extreme sports certainly seems to be good training for future film making!

His work focuses on human social behaviour, and is full of satire, symbolism, awkward situations, and humorous moments – which is the reason we love his work.

His work 2004 – 2011

He co-owns a production company called Plattform Produktion, which produces his films. His first three feature-length fiction films were The Guitar Mongoloid (2004), which won an award at the Moscow International Film Festival, Involuntary (2008) and Play (2011).

Östlund’s short film Incident by a Bank is a re-enactment of a botched bank robbery that actually happened in Sweden and won the Golden Bear for Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Grand Prix at Tampere Film Festival in 2011.

It is a fantastic, entertaining piece – have a watch here:

Force Majeure | 2014

Östlund’s award-winning Force Majeure, released in 2014, is a dark comedy drama about a family who go on a skiing holiday and when faced with being in the path of an avalanche, the husband appears to abandon his family in their moment of need.

It’s a classic Östlund film examining human behaviour, relationships, and full of uncomfortable moments. There are excellent performances from Johannes Bah Kuhnke who plays the husband and Father, Tomas, and Lisa Loven Kongsli as his wife and the children’s month, Ebba, and a great soundtrack too that just escalates the tension.

In 2020, a US film called Downhill was released that was based on Force Majeure starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Deryfus.

Force Majeure

The Square | 2017

His last film before the release of Triangle of Sadness was The Square in 2017. The story centres around a Stockholm museum’s chief art curator who is having both a professional and personal crisis as he is trying to set up a controversial new exhibit.

It includes a career best performance from the excellent Claes Bang (pictured below) and a very uncomfortable scene involving a man impersonating a gorilla at a gala dinner.

The film was shot in Gothenburg and Berlin and won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year.

The Square

Triangle of Sadness | 2022

Östlund’s latest film has won him his second Palme d’Or prize at Cannes Film Festival, and is likely to be the topic of much conversation and debate with its release this week.

Another satirical black comedy, it follows a fashion model couple who are invited to join a luxury yacht and dine amongst the ultra-rich, when the boat hits bad weather and things begin to go downhill quickly. We shall say no more – just go and watch it and tell us what you think!

Triangle of Sadness

Triangle of Sadness is released in the UK on Friday 28th October at cinemas nationwide.

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