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In Case of No Emergency: The Films of Ruben Östlund

The first ever retrospective of Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund’s work which opens at the at the Film Society Lincoln Center this Wednesday and began its tour in Los Angeles this past weekend and saw him has a hopeful for the Best Foreign Language award at this year’s Golden Globe Awards for his latest film, Force Majeure. Originally premiering in Un Certain Regard (also going under the title “Turist” for the Scandi countries) at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where it took home a special jury prize in that section, many predict Östlund to receive an Oscar nod this year in the same category, regardless of any other anticipated wins.

In Case of No Emergency: The Films of Ruben Östlund

His fourth feature has been his most internationally acclaimed to date, garnering comparisons to the icy precision of Kubrick, and finally earning Östlund US distribution, snapped up by Magnolia Pictures. A reexamination of his three previous titles is the real treat of the retrospective, considering they’ve been unavailable since their festival circuit tours, even including the 2011 title Play, which carried Östlund’s fixed perspective to an extreme not seen in previous forays, earning praise and comparison to Haneke and taking home a prize at the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes that year. We’ve had the chance to meet with the filmmaker twice before (“Play” interview & “Force Majeure” interview), so the added pleasure of watching all four films (and three shorts) in succession, is an opportune moment one sees the birth of an auteur, each feature expanding Östlund’s cinematic language to culminate into, arguably, his best work to date.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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