The film begins on a luxury cruise where a colorful mix of wealthy people spend their days doing nothing and complaining. After a storm and an attack by pirates, some of the passengers end up on a desert island where they, along with a handful of crew members, must try to build a new community. During scenes on the boat, Ostlund constantly pushes boundaries in his rude jokes — and regularly oversteps them.
“I wanted to make a film that combined the best of European cinema and American cinema,” said the Swedish director. “In Europe, we’re really good at making stories that make you think. In the US, directors know very well how to entertain their audiences: with big roller coasters. Because that’s what people come to the movies for. I wanted to combine those two things.”
screaming with pleasure
Ostlund knows that Cannes usually provides a platform for films that tackle the themes in a serious way. “A lot of the time in Europe I miss the real excitement while watching,” he says. “For the audience to shout and sympathize with the characters. And then, after leaving the movie, I started thinking: Did you learn anything from it too?”
The Swedish director organized several test shows for his film. In Stockholm and Berlin, he showed the comedy to fans of the experienced art house, who spent two hours mainly trying to make sense of what he was seeing. He laughs: “Then we showed the film to ordinary people in the Spanish countryside, in a cinema district.” They were not trained spectators. But these people reacted the way I was thinking. There they really screamed on screen when he lost a nut. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s how a movie should go in cinemas.”
“a lot of energy”
Actor Woody Harrelson plays the rich man’s ship captain in the movie. “There are some directors who get a lot of cast — I get a lot of energy from a set like this,” Harrelson praises. “Sometimes you need that as an actor. And in the end, I am the one who will explain to the audience what the movie really is. I thought that was very honorable.”
sadness triangle It will be shown in Dutch cinemas later this year.
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