January 14 – 22

A sly, trenchant observer of human behavior under duress, the Swedish director Ruben Östlund is quickly emerging as one of world cinema’s most distinctive voices, equal parts satirist and sociologist. Östlund, who began his career in the 1990s directing skiing films, has for the past decade been collecting prizes at major festivals, including Cannes, where his latest, the widely acclaimed Force Majeure, took the Grand Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard competition. Two of his four features have been chosen as the official Swedish Oscar entry: 2008’s Involuntary and now Force Majeure this year. In Östlund’s bracing, darkly funny movies, modern life takes shape as a series of simultaneously devastating and absurd crises, no less real for being imagined, and the civilized veneer of Western bourgeois society barely conceals all manner of foibles and prejudices. His deconstructions of ego and privilege are elegant provocations, designed to defy easy identification and, in his words, “make the audience take a moral stand on its own.”

The touring retrospective is produced by Comeback Company, in partnership with the Swedish Film Institute and Plattform Produktion, with additional support from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Embassy of Sweden in the U.S. and the Consulate General of Sweden in New York.

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