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Ruben Östlund Talks Social Satire ‘Triangle of Sadness,’ Privilege and Embracing Bad Reviews

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Guy Lodge Film CriticSwedish director Ruben Östlund opened this year’s Sarajevo Film Festival with his raucously entertaining new social satire “Triangle of Sadness,” continuing a festival tour that began this spring at Cannes — where he nabbed the Palme d’Or, joining the likes of Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Haneke in the select club of filmmakers to have earned the honor twice.

In Sarajevo, where he also received the festival’s Heart of Sarajevo Award, he joined us at the Variety Lounge presented by Sarajevo Film Festival to talk about privilege, masculinity and embracing bad reviews.Following his Oscar-nominated art-scene comedy “The Square,” Östlund’s latest sees him taking aim at the One Percent, western entitlement, the fashion industry, the arms trade, you name it — all colliding on a luxury cruise that goes spectacularly awry.

It’s a rare blend of arthouse and gross-out sensibilities, and surely holds the record for most onscreen vomiting in a Cannes winner: “I wanted it to be a wild, entertaining rollercoaster,” he says, citing the classic 1980s farce “A Fish Called Wanda” as an inspiration for its comic beats.

But he isn’t afraid to shock audiences even as he tickles them, and welcomes polarized opinions — even going so far as to include quotes from negative reviews on the DVD of his first film.

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