Although the Swedish filmmakerRuben Östlundhas made only four feature-length films so far, he already has under his belt all top European film awards. On Friday night, he was presentedMotovun Maverick Award, given byMotovun Film Festivalto filmmakers with guts and those pushing the boundaries of cinema.
Motovun Film Festival regularly showed his films.PlayandForce Majeurewon him the awards of Motovun’s FIPRESCI Jury. Ruben Östlund’s films are detailed studies of the Western way of life, paralyzed with fear of different ways and cultures. Östlund obsessively tackles all sorts of conformism: in society, in a group, when facing violence. By tackling the issues of class, immigration and democracy, Östlund addresses the grimy side of the seemingly ideal Scandinavian societies, showing that these societies are based on the wobbly legs of political correctness and obedience to standards and conventions.
What fascinates the Swedish director, though, are the people who – in his opinion – are irrational and imitating by nature. “Ever since childhood, we imitate adults, but it does not stop even when we become adults. We imitate everything – the good things and the bad things. We who make motion pictures should be aware that people imitate them. In fact, images have the strongest effect on us,” said Östlund while receiving the award in a good mood.
He made his filmPlaybecause he was intrigued by human tendency to subdue to the violence exerted by a group, the problem of taking responsibility and the fact that we tend to be passive bystanders in public spaces. It gave him the idea of creating a symbolical place where we should remember what are our duties as human beings andThe Squarewas thus born. Originally, it was installed in the Swedish city of Värnam. In a way, the film was made to advertise The Square – an area perceived as a sanctuary, a place where we seek and receive assistance. It was installed in Motovun at the beginning of the festival and the visitors have been encouraged to take the objects left within the square and to leave something in return. “In the end of the day, there were more objects left in the square than those taken from it, so we can conclude that the Motovun bunch are good people,” said the festival directorIgor Mirković.
Östlund is fascinated by the fact that beauty can be relevant for one’s reputation, even if one is not educated or has no money or talents. Beauty is often used for climbing up in the social scale and, consequently, has an economic value. However, in his next film, Östlund will radically change the hierarchy of relations, placing protagonists in an unusual situation. He said he would tour the Croatian coast, among other places, seeking for a perfect beach for his film. So there is a chance that his next film in the Motovun program be made in Croatia.