Ruben Östlund Rides the Waves of ‘Triangle of Sadness’

Ruben OstlundSet in a ski resort, in the art world and aboard a luxury cruise, ,’s three most recent films cover everything from an avalanche to widespread food poisoning. But it was during graduation triangle of sadness, His most recent film and second consecutive Cannes Palme d’Or winner, the Swedish filmmaker noted that he had “completed a trilogy about being a man in our time”. As he explains this week Little Goldmen Podcast, each film challenges a male character’s role as a man based on what society expects of him.

triangle of sadness, now in cinemas after a successful festival run, his story begins with male model Carl (Harris Dickinson), who is in a relationship of convenience with a model influencer named Yaya (Charlbi Dean). Yaya is much more successful as a model, and tensions between them over the imbalances in their relationship are only exacerbated when they are invited on a luxury cruise with the most obscene rich people imaginable. Just like he did with Force majeure and The seat, Östlund uses satire to compel viewers to take a close look at various aspects of humanity that probably deserve scrutiny.

Listen to this week Little Goldmen to hear more from Östlund about how he creates those unique one percent movies, filmed the chaotically disgusting seasickness scene and where he gets his best ideas from. You can also read a selected transcript of the interview below.


This content can also be viewed on the website from which it originated.

vanity fair: It’s such a special experience to watch in a theater because there’s laughter, discomfort and sometimes tears. How is your experience watching it with an audience?

Ruben Ostlund: During the editing process, I do a lot of test screenings with an audience. I just want to sit down with an audience and watch the film in order, figure out how it should be edited, what the pacing should be to create a dynamic experience. So the first few screenings that you do with an audience are quite painful because then you have a film that’s maybe four hours long, or three hours and 40 minutes. But you know you have to go through this to figure out exactly how to maneuver the energy in a movie theater space. It’s not that enjoyable to watch with an audience at this point, but once you start finding a rhythm that works, it’s fun. At least with this movie, it was really, really fun.

Where did the original idea for this film come from?

Well, it started eight years ago when I met my wife. We met in LA and she did a fashion shoot there. She is a fashion photographer and I became very curious about her profession because it is an industry that you look at from the outside. And this industry is a bit scary because it’s all about beauty and beauty tells us so much about hierarchy too. I found it interesting to hear someone on the inside tell me about various aspects of their work.

How much research did you do, particularly in creating those colorful, ultra-rich characters on the yacht?

I do a lot of research and I think I was inspired by a few different characters because I basically fell in love with different dialogues. One idea I had was that I wanted to portray them all as nice. I didn’t want to make them ignorant or mean because I think maybe that’s the conventional way when we look at class, that when we describe people on the underside they’re genuine and generous, and rich people are selfish and shallow. I didn’t want to go that route because I don’t believe it’s true. Ruben Östlund Rides the Waves of ‘Triangle of Sadness’

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