[Cinéma] Without filter, the new satire of Ruben Östlund pays the class struggle

In 2017, filmmaker Ruben Östlund upset the left-wing press and his sore critics with The Square, a corrosive farce on the frivolous and decadent milieus of culture and, in particular, of contemporary art. Persifleur, the Swedish director pointed out the egotism, the “authorizing” postures and the intellectual humbug of those who claim, better than the others, to embody good taste.

Today with Without filter (Triangle of Sadnessin the original version, 2h29), released in French cinemas on September 28, Ruben Östlund attacks profiteers and upstarts of all kinds, these happy couple who plague society and enjoy its benefits. The film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022.

The first chapter of the story opens with a young model, Carl. Failing to embody the dominating and “toxic” male that the neo-feminists so much criticize, Carl, on the contrary, bears the full brunt of the inequalities specific to his environment: lack of consideration on the part of stylists, objectification and lower salary than that of of his female colleagues (yes…). This does not prevent his partner Yaya, also a model, from taking advantage of him financially according to a pattern that conforms to the stereotype of the traditional couple: the man provides for the needs of the woman and ensures her social stability. One chapter of the film is particularly jubilant: the character of Carl, having perfectly integrated the injunctions of his time and the “necessary deconstruction” of his sex, tries in vain to resist this woman – a feminist when it suits her – who is once again looking for more about making him pay the restaurant bill. The uneasiness is such between the characters, caught in a tunnel of petty remarks and bad faith, that this comical situation alone justifies watching the film.

More schoolboy, more consensual too, the second chapter, resembling titanicsees the patched-up young couple trying to climb into the upper class by taking part in a cruise alongside the perfect representatives of this carefree and opulent transnational oligarchy, whose bad conscience and vulgarity give rise to a few funny passages, as well as a dialogue half fig half grape between a rich Russian industrialist, who switched to a market economy the day after the fall of the USSR, and the disillusioned captain of the ship (Woody Harrelson), socialist but not too .

Shaken by the turbulent waves of reality, symbolized by the eddies of the sea, stuffed with money like geese, our elites end up feeling bad, vomit who better – literally and figuratively – their inner disgust and attend, powerless, at the sinking of the world they have built, provoked by pirates from Africa… The opportunity to return to dry land, on a desert island where the cards are redistributed. Thus, the Hispanic housekeeper, more resourceful than the others, seizes power among the survivors and establishes a new social order with a feminist and revengeful tint, just as unequal, abusive and dictatorial as the previous one. Far from being naïve, Ruben Östlund reveals here his deep feelings about these “intersectional” minorities, obsessed with their desire to overthrow the white patriarchy which, according to them, is at the origin of all domination. In truth, the filmmaker tells us, those who have always known how to cling to the branches, such as the Russian oligarch, will once again be able to defend their interests, while the truly outcasts (Carl) have no illusions. to be done…

Uneven in its treatment, the film never goes far enough in satire and unfortunately loses intensity and humor over the three chapters that only intellectual gymnastics manages to connect. The result is likely to leave more than one spectator on the side of the road. This is the usual defect of Ruben Östlund’s films.

3 out of 5 stars

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[Cinéma] Without filter, the new satire of Ruben Östlund pays the class struggle