Review: Triangle of Sadness - winner of the Palme d'Or

Review: Triangle of Sadness - winner of the Palme d'Or

The official poster for the 75th International Film Festival shown on may 16, 2022 in Cannes, France © Arthur R

Swedish Director Ruben Östlund’s "Triangle of Sadness", which won the Palme d'Or at the 75th outing of the Cannes Film Festival, is a brilliant satirical comedy about the paradoxes of capitalist society.

Festival de Cannes 2022 - France 3 Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: Official YouTube Channel

Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean, the main characters, travel on a luxury cruise liner but end up shipwrecked. On board there’s a blogger, who has been invited in barter for posting pictures on Instagram, and who is accompanied by her boyfriend, who is forced to endlessly take pictures with her phone. There is also an elderly English couple who have made a fortune selling hand grenades, and a Russian oligarch, accompanied by his old wife and new mistress.

Among them, the crew glides unnoticed, designed to make every moment on the yacht a blissful experience for their guests. Meanwhile, while down in the bilges the staff patiently wait to scrub, clean and tidy up when night falls. 

The film brings to mind incidents that take place on festival days outside the cinemas. In Cannes, surprisingly, two categories of festival-goers - celebrities and marketeers, producers, heads of companies, distributors, and film buyers manage to coexist. Journalists and photographers are very popular here, as it is them who create the aura of fairy tale and the magic of life "not like the rest". 90% of the festival infrastructure works in favor of celebrities and members of the press: press rooms, hotels, beaches, the car park and free circulation between the Palais des Festivals and the cinemas. Meanwhile, representatives of the film industry, that support the whole cinema, have to pass round the festival premises dozens of times a day, spending 10 minutes to get from point A to point B, which are separated by just 30 metres: simply for the purpose of avoiding congestion on the way to the main action and letting the stars walk easily, smiling to the film cameras. 

It's all well and good, except that the cruise liner crashes at the end of Östlund's film. And the beautiful model as well as the Russian oligarch are thrown onto a desert island where the roles are unexpectedly reversed. Suddenly, the exchange rate of the seemingly stable currency called Beauty falls with a bang, millions of dollars in numerous bank accounts cannot make a fire at night, but the skills and abilities of the "toilet manager" suddenly become the wrecked men's main hope for salvation. And now the dinner made of the octopus caught in the ocean is distributed in proportion to one's merits: the fisherman gets just enough to be plentiful, while the rich and famous have to make do with what's left over. 

Festival de Cannes 2022 - France 3 Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: Official YouTube Channel

The Jury of the Festival, a panel of equally brilliant and powerful individuals, awarded the main prize to Östlund. Does this mean that the Festival de Cannes is ready to accept the fact that all participants in this film festival deserve equal treatment? Or will the dusty hole of inequality continue to gape in the middle of the city next year, as it did all 75 years before?

Credits for the Main photo: Festival de Cannes 2022 - France 3 Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: Official YouTube Channel



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