Ruben Östlund is the guest of honor at the 39th Jerusalem Film Festival. His new film, TRIANGLE OF SADNESS, was chosen to open this year’s festival edition, on July 21, just two months shy after receiving the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Östlund will receive a special Achievement Award for his accomplishments in the field of cinema at the Jerusalem Film Festival’s Opening Event at Sultan’s Pool. A retrospective of his work will follow throughout the Festival.
The Swedish director, an avid skier, got his start in cinema by making skiing films over the course of five years. He was in his early 20s. Later, he studied film at the University of Gothenburg, and through his short films he developed one of his best-known skills: Complex long shots, which would come to be used throughout his work. There, he also began to formulate his unique cinematic language, which combines an unusual sense of humor and sharp observation of human behavior, a sort of cross between film and sociology.
In 2004, he directed his first feature film, THE GUITAR MONGOLOID, which takes viewers on a journey among a series of unusual characters living in a fictional Swedish city. His second film, INVOLUNTARY (2008), which was made up of five chapters with very little editing, was shown to critical acclaim in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. In 2011, he directed PLAY, a fascinating drama co-written with Erik Hemmendorff. Inspired by true events, PLAY provoked extensive debate and discussion. The film was also screened at Cannes and received several awards.
But it seems it was FORCE MAJEURE (2014) that made Ruben Östlund a household name among film enthusiasts. The film portrays a family caught in a snow storm while on vacation at a ski resort in the French Alps. Östlund exposes familial tensions with his characteristic acuteness and humor. FORCE MAJEURE received the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes, was nominated for a Golden Globe, was distributed in 75 countries, and even received an American remake, DOWNHILL (2020).
In 2017, Östlund received the Palme d’Or for THE SQUARE, a sharp satire of the art world which was widely discussed and which received numerous accolades, including an Oscar nomination and five European Film Academy awards, including Best Film. The president of the jury at Cannes that year, Pedro Almodóvar, praised the film’s ability to depict the “dictatorship of being politically correct.” This year, Östlund made history by joining the exclusive club of multiple Palme d’Or winners. Other such directors include Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Haneke, the Dardenne brothers, and Emir Kusturica. It seems Östlund fits right in with these masters.