Ruben Östlund has become the first Swedish director in 66 years to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival with The Square, starring Claes Bang (The Bridge), Dominic West (The Wire) and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men).
In The Square, Christian is the successful curator of a modern art museum. A few days before the opening of a prestigious exhibition he is mugged, so embarks on a hunt for the perpetrator and ends up in situations that make him question his own moral compass.
Meanwhile, Christian also has to deal with the PR agency that the museum hired to help market the upcoming exhibition – something which takes an unexpected turn and plunges both the curator and the museum into crisis.
Cannes juror, Agnès Jaoui, said: “This is an intelligent, subtle and funny film that raises important issues: how to help the poor, how to deal with the media and attract them by creating a shock factor. And I also fell for the lead actor!”
Jury president, Pedro Almodóvar, added: “The film looks at the dictatorship of political correctness. It offers several examples of this. It is a very funny film, the actors are excellent and we considered giving the lead actor a Best Actor Award.”
Ruben Östlund won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes in 2014 for Force Majeure, but until now Sweden hadn’t been represented in the main competition at Cannes since Liv Ullmann’s Faithless and Roy Andersson’s Songs from the Second Floor were nominated in 2000.
The last Swede to win the Palme D’Or was Alf Sjöberg for Miss Julie in 1951, although Danish director Bille August won with “Swedish” films in 1988 for Pelle the Conqueror and in 1992 for The Best Intentions.