Ruben Östlund looks at ‘beauty as currency’ in the Palme d’Or-winning ‘Triangle of Sadness’

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Reuben Ostlund’s latest Palme d’Or-winning satire, “Triangle of Sadness,” is as terrifying as it is funny. More importantly, Ostlund hopes it will start a debate on social structures.

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For the two-time winner of Cannes’ highest award, political discussions about society have always been a part of her upbringing. “One thing I wanted to do in the film is the very simple explanation that ‘rich people are mean and poor people are nice’ unfortunately is not true. Rich people are good, but if you are poor, then Maybe it’s a big risk of you being a bad person,” he said in an interview ahead of the film’s Toronto International Film Festival premiere.

The Swedish director’s first English-language film follows models Yaya (Charlby Dean) and Carl (Harris Dickinson), a couple on a cruise to the ultra-rich that soon turns chaotic. Woody Harrelson co-stars as the ship’s captain.


The film’s title comes from Cosmetic Surgery, the director said. “This is when you have wrinkles between your brows and in Swedish it is called a trouble wrinkle; You get it when you have a lot of trouble in your life. I have one because I make feature films and it’s a lot of work.”

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“I was having dinner with a beauty surgeon and all of a sudden she said, ‘Oh, I see a really deep triangle of sadness. No worries, we can fix it in 15 minutes with Botox.’ It says something about our times…” he said.

“I wanted to see beauty as a currency. We have these two models and obviously beauty is their profession, that’s where they get money. Then I was looking at it from the point of view of a couple’s relationship Where… Woman’s beauty is currency in a relationship. Then I want to take you to a deserted island and see what happens when there’s no money. It’s a fight for survival. A male model using her posture How about if a Filipino woman (in the movie) is twice her age at the top?”

The filmmaker’s approach is to strike an individualistic ideal. He credits Karl Marx and “the way he looked at us as human beings, which is phenomenal… He was one of the inventors of sociology. Sociology looks at the context that creates a certain behavior and I see that point of view.” Like,” Ostlund continued.

“Our behavior is changing because of what is our position in our financial structure. So if we are at the top, there is a risk that we start abusing power. If you are at the bottom, there is probably a risk that if you are cornered you may do something that could be criminal. So he was looking at our behavior from a practical point of view and was not pointing fingers at the person. I think it’s that simple. And I think in our time, we’re obsessed with pointing fingers at different people. ,

Charlby Dean tragically passed away on 29 August from a sudden unexpected illness at the age of just 32. Recalling the South African actor and model, Ostlund said, “He had a certain kind of positive energy. She was a team player raising her colleagues and crew… I looked forward to spending time with her in Toronto. So it came as a shock to everyone in the crew.

“She can give a lot of nuance and it’s always accurate,” said the 48-year-old filmmaker. “So she was working really hard. It would be awesome if she was here (right now) to share this experience together.”

Ostlund, who previously directed “Force Majeure” and his other Palme d’Or-winning film, “The Square,” was excited to bring “Triangle of Sadness” to Toronto. “I love North American audiences because when you have a screening they participate. When you come to Scandinavia or parts of Europe, people are sitting with folded hands… Here, the audience understands that We are part of the show.”

Mariska Fernandes is a Toronto-based entertainment reporter and film critic. He is a freelance contributor to the Stars Culture section. Follow him on Twitter: @marrs_fers

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