“The Triangle of Grief” by Robin Ostland: a sinking ship and a stranded movie

Nasreen Sayed Ahmed

Cannes – Al Quds Al Arabi: Five years after his film “The Square”, which won the Palme d’Or in 2017, the Swede Robin Ostland returned to the Cannes Film Festival (17 to 28 May this year) for his film ” The “to crown. Triangle of Grief “with this year’s Palme d’Or, and Ostland has joined For a selection of directors who have won the prestigious award twice, such as the Darden brothers and Ken Loach.
We would have expected a jury led by Vincent Landon, a dedicated left-wing actor involved in workers’ issues in many of his works, to take sides with a political action par excellence, sharp in his critique of the rich, and that is exactly what Ostland presented in “The Triangle of Grief.” The jury awarded the festival’s highest awards to a film mocking the rich people who control the fate of people, to show us that those who enjoy their money and who are trapped in their wealth, if they lose their money to become dependent on society, have no skill or ability to deal with the battlefield of life.
At the end of a busy cycle, the Palms was awarded to a film that deals with issues that express the spirit of our time, such as those called “influencers” or influencers on social networks, who do not achieve obscene wealth to their advantage . they offer to the world, but simply because they have the admiration of millions of followers.

In “The Square”, Ostland presented a satirical and provocative vision of the cultural elite in his country, Sweden, and the world of plastic art in it. In his new film, “I Represented Sorrow,” Ostland continues his mockery of the world’s financial and economic elite, who spend their days in luxury on luxury yachts.
We expected from Ostland a film with the same wit, biting irony and cohesive plot as we saw in The Square, or at least we expected Ostland to be the same mastery, power and togetherness as we were in The Square and Compelling Force seen. . But the film was a recurring lacklusterness, with a few flashes of wit, lightness and irony, which we hoped would be the hallmark of the whole film.
The film begins with the voice of a broadcaster we do not see, and conducts an interview with a number of men showcasing the products of very large fashion houses and some medium-level clothing chains. There is a big difference between the way the models handle the products of the big fashion houses and the products of the middle class, a difference that makes us laugh in the usual cynical Eastern way, from the materialistic condescending view that dominates society. After that, the focus shifts to one of the models, Carl and his girlfriend, who is also an Instagram model and star, who has millions of followers, and gets a lot of money for promoting some products on her page. Karl and Yaya argue at a chic restaurant, and the two engage in a witty debate, characterized by Ostland’s typical cynicism of feminists and their handling of money and men.

Ostland falls into the “triangle of sadness” in the snare of directness and moral consciousness, but we can not deny his sense of stifling irony, from which we see flashes, which make us laugh and forget the failures in the film.

At that point in the film, we expected Ostland to pave the way for a film that would criticize the world of fashion, models, and Instagram influencers, and if only he focused on this world, as he did on the world of the cultural elite. in Die Plein. But Ostland decides to take us to a new stage in the film, revolving around a luxury vessel sailing through the sea, with a group of the world’s richest people on board.
The ship carries several models of the world’s riches, including the Russian, who made a fortune by selling animal manure as fertilizer, a hard mess that many drank. There’s the elegant Englishman and his wife, who later turn out to have made their fortune by making bombs and landmines, and there’s the tech mogul who made his fortune by making cell phone applications. Ostland then presents different models of who control wealth and power in the world, and shows us how they deal with the poor, represented by the cabin crew and cleaning on the ship. Ostland has little respect for these rich people, and mocks with their exploitation, greed and false appearance.

Ostland robs these rich people of the aura of glorification and prestige with which they surround themselves, shelter in their luxury, literally in mud, mist and vomit. Ostland also reveals the interaction dynamics between the rich and the ship’s workers. The hospitality team on this luxury yacht obeys the rich and carries out their desires, not out of respect for them, but to obtain material benefits for their service. The ship transforms into a microcosm of the world with its rich people commanding and obeying, and the poor carrying in their hearts deep anger towards these rich people, anger that puts on the mask of obedience and waits for the right moment to explode . Ostland places the ship under the command of a drunken left-wing captain, who evades the captaincy of a ship facing a raging storm, and a class battle between the passengers and the ship’s crew.
Maybe if Austland had finished the film with that epilogue, on a ship sinking while its rich and poor fought, the film would have become more powerful, cohesive and stingier. But Ostland insists that he take the film to a new stage, and the film becomes sluggish, chatty and loses much of its momentum. This last phase in the film is the island, where the ship’s passengers, rich and working people, were stranded on its ground after their luxury yacht sank. On the island, Ostland confirms, perhaps to the point of boredom, what he said in the previous parts of the film. The film suffers from flawed repetition, loses its cynical spirit and becomes a predictable story of the battle between those who ended up on the island. The balance of power is turning on the island, so the wealth of the rich does not benefit them in view of the lack of manual skills such as hunting, hunting and firing, those skills possessed by those who worked on cooking and cleaning . aboard the elegant yacht. The film turns into something like preaching or a moral lesson from a director of whom we are accustomed to intelligence and irony in conveying his message.
Ostland falls into the “triangle of sadness” in the snare of directness and moral consciousness, but we can not deny his sense of stifling irony, from which we see flashes, which make us laugh and forget the failures in the film.

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