New thread from Ruben Östlund: Cruising is no longer fun

New thread from Ruben Östlund: cruising is no longer fun


After demolishing the image of the perfect family in his dark comedy Force Majeure and offering a scathing satire of the world of contemporary art with The Square, Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund continues to scratch the veneer of our modern society by tackling this time to the cult of appearance and the excesses of capitalism.

Without filter, his new film which won him the second Palme d' gold of his career, at the Cannes Film Festival, last May, transports us aboard a luxury cruise that turns into a nightmare.

We follow the characters of Yaya (the late Charlbi Dean, who died suddenly on August 30) and Carl (Harris Dickinson), a superficial young couple obsessed with money. He is a model, she is an influencer. Invited for free on a yacht for a luxury cruise, Yaya and Carl will rub shoulders with an ultra-rich clientele made up in particular of Russian oligarchs, a couple of British retirees who made their fortune in the sale of anti-personnel mines and a captain alcoholic follower of Marxist theories (Woody Harrelson). 

But a violent storm will rock the ship and possibly shatter the social class relationships that existed between the passengers and the crew of the yacht.

In an interview with Journal< /em> by videoconference last week, Ruben Östlund said that the original idea for the film came from observations of his wife, a fashion photographer, on the superficiality of this universe. 

“I found it very curious to discover how certain models had been able to climb the ladder in society thanks to their physical appearance,” says the 48-year-old filmmaker. “It fascinated me to see how much physical beauty and sex could serve as currency. I thought it was a reality that we don't talk about often enough in our society and that it would be interesting to stage a male character who is aware of his beauty and who knows how to use it.”

Woody Harrelson plays an alcoholic captain adept at Marxist theories.

Filming discomfort

As in his previous films, Ruben Östlund is not afraid to portray selfish, superficial and often unpleasant characters. 

“They're characters, not human beings, so I can be as mean to them as I want,” he laughs. I'm more interested in failures than successes. If I can't make the audience believe that they could act the same way as my characters, it would be a failure. But for me, there are no good or bad characters. I like to show people who find themselves in an embarrassing situation that they don't know how to handle.”

Unfiltered is Ruben Östlund's first feature film in English. . It is also the film for which he obtained the largest budget of his career, around $17 million. 

“What's interesting about a film's budget is that when it increases, production costs also increase,” adds the Swedish filmmaker.

“So it's not because we benefit from a bigger budget that we necessarily see this money on the screen. As far as I'm concerned, the producer I've worked with for a long time is one of my best friends. Together, we always try to put in place the financial structure that best meets the needs of the film. 

“This time, it was the logistics that were very expensive. Getting an entire crew to fly to Sweden and Greece [where the yacht scenes were filmed] was bound to be very expensive. I probably couldn't have made the film that way at the start of my career.”

Unfiltered (Triangle of Sadness, in original English version) opened yesterday in Montreal and will be released in the rest of Quebec next Friday.< /p>