Rolling applause, and lots of it, greeted Ruben Östlund and the cast of Triangle Of Sadness as they entered the Cannes press conference this morning.
Call it cathartic for a global audience that’s been mired too long by Covid, inflation, and the dreariness of the Ukraine war. Cannes is notorious for its somber, three year hour movies. However, Triangle of Sadness in its Farrelly Brothers-esque vomit and poop antics, provided a reason for the press corps here to laugh, and, boy, are they responding to it after last night’s crowd gave the pic one of this Cannes’ longest standing ovations.
The movie, which Östlund bills as his “end of Western Civilazation,” follows a fashion model and her model casting agent partner, played by Charlbi Dean and Harris Dickinson, who wind up on luxury yacht, the poorest of those setting sail, and are ultimately stranded on a deserted island. Woody Harrelson plays a Marxist captain who gets drunk with a Russian oligarch, reads from the Communist manifesto and sends his yacht into rough waters until the passengers crap and vomit.
Talking about how he feels about the character, Harrelson quipped “the character is Marxist. I’m not a Marxist, I’m an anarchist so in that sense we differ.”
Then getting serious, “I’m guy who just thinks its abominable when a super power with all this military might with no provocation attacks, unprovoked, a country that is Ukraine,” said the Cheers alum and 3x Oscar nominee about Russia’s war.
“I love the character, and I do think in a lot of ways, he (Ostlund) let my character be the message of the film,” added the actor.
“I’m going to be in his next film, whatever he wants me to do,” asserted Harrelson, which was revealed at the press conference to be The Entertainment System Is Down.
“He’s going to play a captain on an airplane,” chimed in Östlund about the movie which is another social satire, like Triangle of Sadness, set on a long flight, inspired from Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World.
Deadline critic Stephanie Bunbury beamed about the film, “Triangle Of Sadness is a mission statement about equality: that it doesn’t exist, that it cannot exist, that while calamity may bring the downfall of the top dogs, new curs will replace them and behave in exactly the same way.”
“Eight years ago, I met my wife; she’s a fashion photographer. I just wanted to know everything about the fashion industry. We started to talk a lot about fashion being a product, the condition of the models when they’re working; talking about beauty as a currency,” said Östlund.
“I felt that beauty is attractive, but also scary,” added the Palme D’Or winner and Oscar nominee of The Square.
The filmmaker spoke about a scientific study involving a tiger being dressed with a red spot, camouflaging into the herd. “Fashion works the same way,” the director explained in regards to people blending into social groups.
Östlund also said that he test screened Triangle of Sadness in Berlin, Stockholm and Spain. It was the latter locale which riveted its best takeaway for the filmmaker. “We had 30 people who had no experience of cinema; they’re laughing and screaming straight out; finally an audience is giving something back.”
“We Europeans aren’t a good audience, we sit with our arms crossed,” explained Östlund, “We forget that we’re part of the show, part of the performance.”
“We had a responsibility to create a great screening,” beamed Östlund about making the movie, “I’m happy that everyone is standing behind this socialist piece of content of the film.”