After an exceptional year 2021 in July, Cannes is back in May for its 2022 edition and its rich selection of around a hundred more or less expected films. After its zombie opening with Cut!, the festival is therefore in full swing and unveils a little more of its gems (or not) every day. It’s time for us to give you our hot opinion on Without filter (Triangle of Sadness in its original version), Ruben Östlund’s crazy cynical comedy, back in Cannes five years after winning the Palme d’Or for The Square, the film won the Palme d’Or.
What is it about ? Carl and Yaya, a couple of models with different successes, are invited on a luxury yacht for a dream cruise. But on board, the holidays will quickly turn into chaos.
How was it ? Ruben Östlund had won the Palme d’or in 2017 to everyone’s surprise with The Square, crazy feature film which had largely divided the Croisette (jury, press and public included). And apparently, the Swedish director did not want to lose his title of supreme brat given the mad fury of his Without filter.
During the opening of the film, we follow an influencer/reporter (very clever will be able to tell who he really is) behind the scenes of a modeling casting for a major luxury brand. By dissecting their facial expressions, their gestures, their outfits… he completely mocks the suitors in a rather amusing Balenciaga/H&M delirium. Then, the camera lingers on Carl (Harris Dickinson), a young man with dreamy looks presenting himself at this fashion casting.
The jury makes him walk, scrutinizes him, some believe he needs a little botox (especially in his “Triangle of Sadness”, this triangle located between the eyebrows), others that he lacks charisma. .. Short, the nonsense fair begins and the spectator is not at the end of his surprises.
Smile ? Cringe ? Both at the same time ?
The film is divided into three very distinct chapters. The first presents the two main characters: Carl and Yaya (the superb Charlbi Dean Kriek). The two do not have the same success (she is a modeling star, he tries to break through after a few years of failure), and in fact, a kind of game of dominant-dominated has settled between them, in particular about money. A thorny subject which generates completely crazy shouting matches between the two, especially during a dinner in town after Yaya’s prestigious fashion show.
Resulting a completely insane dialogue about women, men, sexism, false feminism, their salary differences, inequalities… where the two characters freak out stratospherically. With his talent as a director, Ruben Östlund then delivers a crazy first act, capable of capturing with genius the absurdity of their mutual certainty (this hilarious elevator door) and their egocentrism. Enough to lay the lasting milestones of the madness to come, but whose magnitude no one could anticipate.
Because this is undoubtedly what makes the greatest strength of Ruben Östlund’s film (and of his cinema in general), this ability to lead his story anywhere, anytime, anyhow, constantly surprising the spectators to better make them revel in the twists they hadn’t seen coming. And obviously, Without filter is a standard meter of its kind. Difficult to find a film more chaos than this new vintage from Sweden.
Thus, the second chapter takes place on a luxury yacht where the super-rich take for their rank (this aberrant delivery by helicopter, these merchants “protectors of democracy”…) in a deluge of social, political and economic. The talk about the ultra-rich is completely bogus and rude, but Östlund doesn’t give a damn, convinced that his impertinence must go through an absolute anarchy devoid of subtlety. This is where the film saw a memorable turning point.
Do you like communist and capitalist jokes? You will be served
We are not going to reveal too much to leave a maximum of surprise, but in the continuity of his two previous films where a meal marked the changeover of characters and situations, Without filter capsizes (literally) during an out of control dinner. With a skillful play of framing and bubbly shots, an escalation of crescendo obscenity and magnificent comic timing, Without filter then flies into the skies of hilarity during a jubilant scene recalling as many Feast that The meaning of life.
Since then, Without filter explodes everything in a deluge of extravagance, unease and excess where absolutely revolting characters live a nightmare which we can only enjoy. Ruben Östlund no longer tries to simply make fun of his whole gallery, he deliberately humiliates them to better bury their noses in the repugnant indecency of their social life. So we laugh we even enjoy afterwards this destruction of hierarchies and the reversal of the balance of power, while despairing to see that nothing seems to be moving in the right direction for all that (equality being only an ideal advocated in the wind).
And even if the duration of the feature film (2h30) often comes to slow down this excessive fantasy (the third act is really too long), the fact remains a huge joyful release, a vulgar and provocative satire claimed and a Ruben Östlund determined not to please everyone.
And when is it coming out? The film does not yet have a release date in France, but we are already looking forward to seeing it again.
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Cannes 2022: we saw Without filter, the Palme d’or completely crazy