Once Upon a Time... The Square Série-Collection : Un film et son époque

Manuelle Blanc
2020 - 52 min - Video Full HD - Couleur et Noir & Blanc - France

The curator of a contemporary art museum in Stockholm sets up an installation called "The Square": a large white square on the museum forecourt, presented as a symbol of trust and altruism. But the day before the inauguration, his wallet and phone are stolen. To recover them, the curator has to depart from all his principles. Meanwhile, his marketing team's campaign to promote the installation is so scandalous that he is forced to resign. The curator then realizes how superficial and empty his life is.
For Ruben Östlund, this film is a denunciation of contemporary individualism: even when you have progressive ideas, it is difficult to remain true to your values. To tell the story of the genesis, the context and the making of the fourth feature film by Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, who won the Golden Palm at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, this documentary from the "A Film and its Era" collection was entirely shot in Sweden, and enriched by interviews with the film's main protagonists.
Using film excerpts, never-before-seen archives of the shot and news documents; it reveals how the film is based on an actual experiment of the filmmaker, who had once set up an identical installation in a Swedish museum to observe its effects. It explains how "The Square" is a critique of contemporary Sweden, the pillar of Scandinavian social democracy plagued by the rise of individualism, the increase in inequalities and the emergence of mendicancy. It also shows how "The Square" is a fierce satire of art when it becomes abstruse through abstraction, and especially when it blindly submits to the law of the “buzz "...
It portrays a filmmaker passionate about social psychology, fond of long sequence-shots, and who willingly pushes his actors to the point of exhaustion by multiplying the number of takes until he gets the best out of them. Finally, it demonstrates the importance of altruism in Ruben Östlund's cinema, the leader of the young Swedish generation.

Author-Director : Manuelle Blanc
Photography : Julien Pamart
Sound : Michael Hurtig, Denis Lepeut, Anders Ekdahl, Mikael Lindblad
Editing : Barbara Bascou
Original Music : Stéphanie Blanc, Jérôme Levatois
Delegate Producer : Folamour Productions


Distributor : ARTE France