Ruben Ostlund, the thought-provoking two-time Palme d’Or winning filmmaker, will direct the audience during an interactive screening of his latest film “Triangle of Sadness” at the Göteborg Film Festival.
Titled “This Is Cinema”, the on-site event will see Östlund break the fourth wall and step into the movie theater as well as engage the audience in the movie, which will mark his English-language debut.
“Cinema’s unique selling point is that we are watching things together and process content differently than when we watch things alone. It’s important to keep this tradition alive because it’s part of cinematic culture and the audience plays an active role in it,” said Ostlund, adding that having the audience discuss what they’ve seen together is also essential for a film to “reach its full potential. ”
Set on a cruise for the super rich, “Triangle of Misery” is a wild satire following two supermodels on a doomed luxury cruise. They are stranded on a deserted island with some of their fellow passengers and a Marxist captain. In chaos, social hierarchies are uprooted and the economic value of beauty is exposed. The movie stars late actor Charlby Dean, Harris Dickinson, Dolly De Leon and Woody Harrelson.
When it had its world premiere at Cannes, “Triangle of Sorrows” earned an eight-minute standing ovation after a lively screening that Ostlund compared to a “football game” during a presser at the festival.
The director said that when he makes a film with editing, he always keeps the audience in mind from start to finish. He points out that there is a “huge difference” when he edits a film “for a single screen or for a collective experience”.
The Swedish helmer says through his travels, he’s noticed that Scandinavians are particularly passive bystanders compared to people in countries like the United States and France. “Maybe not the Danes but the Swedes for sure. They feel like they can hide in the dark and they’re not willing to show their commitment to making a good show,” continued Ostlund. “But it’s important that people let go of the fear of losing face and being stupid.”
Östlund will pop in before the screening to give specific directions to the audience. The screening will then be split into two parts, with an intermission during which Östlund and audience members will chat, mingle and enjoy a glass of wine. Helmer said he would also pull in audience members at random to spice up the screening.
“I want to evoke that fear that you as an audience have like in the 1980s and 1990s when you went to these free theater groups — when you knew that suddenly you could be kidnapped and brought up on set,” quipped Östlund, who added that he conducted a similar experiment during the premiere of “Triangle of Sorrows” at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
“This is Cinema” will be held at Cinema Draken at the Göteborg Film Festival on January 28. On the same day, the festival will also host several panels to discuss the film’s cultural and social impact. The future of cinema culture will also be one of the topics discussed during the Film Policy Summit in Gothenburg on 27 January.
“At the Gothenburg Film Festival, we talked a lot about cinema culture and audience behavior. And these are things that as a festival we have been involved with for a long time through various reports, experiments and special screenings, says Jonas Holmberg, Artistic Director of the Gothenburg Film Festival. “This new experience is part of our mantra and we are very excited by Ruben Ostlund’s potential to challenge conventional ideas about the relationship between director, audience and film.”
Holmberg said the event will feature “interactive performances with the audience” and will be “provocative,” striving to “change people’s perceptions of cinema, culture, audience behavior and theatrical experience.”
Along with Ingmar Bergman, Ostlund ranks as the most successful filmmaker in the history of Swedish cinema. His credits include “Force Majeure,” which played at Cannes in 2014, as well as “The Square,” which won the Palme d’Or in 2017.