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THE FILMS OF RUBEN ÖSTLUND
JANUARY–MARCH 2015 **** EXTENDED THROUGH APRIL 14
2011, 118m, Sweden/France/Denmark
Swedish with English Subtitles
with Anas Abdirahman, Sebastian Blycker, Yannick Diakité, Sebastian Hegmar, Abdiaziz Hilowle, Nana Manu, John Ortiz, Kevin Vaz
cinematography: Marius Dybwad Brandrud; produced by Erik Hemmendorff (also co-writer of screenplay)
“I want to make the audience active and reflective,” Östlund has stated. He does just that with this controversial record, inspired by actual court cases, of five black teenagers harassing white and Asian youths through scams and role-playing. All violence is implied, but the graver implication (which inflamed critics on the home front) is that political correctness debilitates society, as “good people” stand by and do nothing for fear of being thought racist. Östlund, who won a Swedish Oscar for Best Director and a “Coup de coeur” prize at Cannes, imprisons his actors within a frame, not unlike our social mores freezing us in place. Unabashedly impolite, Play offers food for thought and fuel for fury.
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