Cannes Film Festival announces Ruben Östlund as jury president for 76th edition

This year's Festival de Cannes will be held from May 16 to 27 and Östlund will now hand out the Palme d'Or, after having received two of them himself during past editions.
Cannes Film Festival announces Ruben Östlund as jury president for 76th edition

"I am happy, proud, and humbled to be trusted with the honor of Jury president for this year's Competition at the Festival de Cannes. Nowhere in the film world is the anticipation as strong as when the curtain rises on the films in Competition at the Festival. It is a privilege to be part of it, together with the Cannes audience of connoisseurs. I am sincere when I say that cinema culture is in its most important period ever. The cinema has a unique aspect - there, we watch together, and it demands more on what is shown and increases the intensity of the experience. It makes us reflect in a different way than when we dopamine scroll in front of the individual screens," said Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund about the announcement that he's been tapped to preside over the Competition jury at the upcoming Festival de Cannes. This happens exactly 50 years after his fellow countrywoman Ingrid Bergman presided over the jury back in 1973.

With a track record of 6 features, the filmmaker was already selected twice at Un Certain Regard, where he was awarded the Jury Prize in 2014, before later entering the Competition. While in Competition, he's awarded the coveted Palme d'Or twice. The first time for The Square at the 70th Festival de Cannes, and then for his next film in 2022, Triangle of Sadness, which received three Oscar nominations -- Best Picture, Original Screenplay and Best Director.

After studying cinema in Gothenburg, Östlund directed his first feature film, The Guitar Mongoloid, in 2004. On the edge of the documentary genre, the film describes the intersecting destinies of outcasts in a fictional city that closely resembles Gothenburg. Humor as a tool of sociological description is immediately apparent in the young filmmaker's work.

"As President, I will remind my colleagues in the Jury about the social function of the cinema. A good movie relates to the collective experience, stimulates us to think and makes us want to discuss what we have seen - So let's watch together!" -- Ruben Östlund

His next, a short film, was Autobiographical Scene Number 6882, which gathers all the ingredients of his future work, then affirmed in Involuntary, a feature film selected to screen in Un Certain Regard in 2008. Östlund positions the camera at a distance to better observe human behavior: small weaknesses and major flaws caused by group dynamics are then dissected to the point of discomfort. Sound familiar? Making the audience uncomfortable in a way is the Swedish filmmaker's trademark.

Two years later, Incident by a Bank won the Golden Bear for best short film at the 60th Berlinale. The film examines the reactions of passersby who witness a bank robbery. It was followed by his third feature, Play, which was presented at the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes in 2011, and describes harassment between youth gangs. When it was released in Sweden, it led to a major debate across Swedish society.

In Force Majeure, which was screened at Un Certain Regard in 2014 and really put Östlund on the international map, the film once again makes the audience think. When an avalanche hits a ski resort, the father prefers to take cover rather than save his wife and children. In the aftermath of his decision, there are questions asked and points made, about masculinity in modern society and our basic instincts which are increasingly more about saving ourselves than helping society at large, or even saving face.

As the press release for the festival states, "Ruben Östlund repeatedly explores a provocative dialectic which has become his signature: an initial situation sets the stage for a sociological examination where the baser instincts of our humanity are painstakingly and uncompromisingly examined with corrosive humor."

The year 2017 saw him presenting The Square, starring the spellbinding Claes Bang. In the film, Östlund tells the fictional story of an artistic experiment he conducted in his native country. Bang plays an art curator who sees his efforts dissolve into disaster when he tries to create some buzz for his museum.

In 2022, Triangle of Sadness, the filmmaker dealt with class struggles, the role of influencers in our modern society and placed the action on a cruise ship destined for disaster, in a film that leaves the audience gasping for air, and trying to decode its ending.

"By inviting Ruben Östlund to preside over the Jury, the Festival de Cannes wishes to pay a tribute to films that are uncompromising and forthright and which constantly demand that viewers challenge themselves and that art continue to invent itself," the festival's press release announced.

Ruben Östlund is the third two-time winner of the Palme d’or to be the President of the Jury, following Francis Ford Coppola and Emir Kusturica. He is the very first to take on this role one year after his acclaim in Cannes.

Photo by © J. Saget/AFP, courtesy of the Festival de Cannes, used with permission.

You may also like