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Posts Tagged ‘conceptual art’

Claes Bang

“THE SQUARE” My rating: B 

145 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“The Square” is the equivalent of one of those modern art installations where you wonder if the “artist” isn’t pulling everybody’s chain.

The winner of the  Palm d’Or at Cannes, this comedy from writer/director Ruben Ostend is so dry and droll that it’s often hard to know if we’re actually meant to laugh.

Our “hero” is Christian (Claes Bang), the director of a contemporary art museum in Stockholm that features shows with titles like “Mirrors and Piles of Gravel.” Prominent in the fiftyish Christian’s skill set is an ability to explain far-out conceptual art to the old rich folk who keep the museum afloat. He’s pretty good at schmoozing and coming up with deep intellectual underpinnings for the goofy displays his institution embraces.

The film follows Christian over several days during which he’s dealing with a new installation. “The Square” is just that…an illuminated square set in the cobblestones of the plaza in front of the museum. A plaque embedded in the courtyard describes the square as “a sanctuary of trust and caring”; it’s meant to be a place where the city’s homeless (and Stockholm apparently has an unlimited supply) can take shelter and interact with their more privileged brethren.

This project is more idealistic than realistic…most of the homeless people we encounter are surly and demanding and in their own way as entitled as Christian’s wealthy patrons.

There’s no real plot here, just a series of abusrdism-soaked vignettes depicting Christian’s professional and private life.

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