The Square review – an archly-entertaining swipe at the art world

A satire on the contemporary art world sits edgily alongside a skewering of male privilege and middle-class altruism in Ruben Östlund’s surreal Palme d’Or winnerThe publicity for Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winner The Square features Terry Notary as performance artist Oleg, stripped to the waist, mounting a table at an upmarket dinner and glowering with animalistic rage.

It’s an arresting tableau – baffling and intriguing, promising anarchic action and titilatory spectacle.

The fact that this in-your-face image only partly represents the film itself seems entirely appropriate, since one of the key themes of Östlund’s surreally cerebral and increasingly weird art-world satire is “the difference between art and marketing”.“The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring,” reads the rubric for the art installation of the title: a floor-level, illuminated outline of a space in which altruistic behaviour is compulsory.

“Within its

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