Monthly Screenings

Ruben Östlund Retrospective

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.

Force Majeure

Dir.: Ruebn Ostlund
| 120 minutes

A Swedish family travels to the French Alps to enjoy a few days of skiing and spend some precious time with each other. The sun is shining, and the slopes are spectacular but, during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche turns everything upside down.

The Guitar Mongoloid

Dir.: Ruben Östlund
| 89 minutes

Different characters living outside the norms in the fictional city of Jöteborg, strikingly similar to real-life Göteborg. Although not a documentary, most of the people seen in the film are non-actors more or less playing themselves. Screened together with the short AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SCENE NUMBER 6882 (9 min).


Dir.: Ruben Östlund
| 98 minutes

The consequences of putting one's foot down – or failing to do so – are explored in several unrelated stories. The second feature film by Ruben Östlund (TRIANGLE OF SADNESS, THE SQUARE).


Dir: Ruben Östlund
| 118 minutes

PLAY is an astute observation based on real life bullying cases. In central Gothenburg, Sweden, a group of boys, ages 12-14, robbed other children on about 40 occasions between 2006 and 2008. The thieves used an elaborate scheme called the “brother trick,” involving advanced role-play and gang rhetoric rather than physical violence.

The Square

Dir.: Ruben Östlund
| 142 minutes

Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who supports good causes. His next show is “The Square,” an installation which invites passersby to practice altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes, it is difficult to live up to one’s own ideals.