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Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is "The Square", an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes, it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian's foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the museum's PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for "The Square". The response is overblown and sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis.
You have to be astonished that this one collected a Palme. Not least, it evidently lies in the shadow of Haneke, winner of two recent Palmes for much better movies.
The satire on the art world, the rattling of the bourgeoisie, both seem too overdrawn to be effective. Sketches go on too long, as when the museum director videos his apology, or the ape-man detonates the society party. Cutaways that don't happen, or do but are merely irritating, seem like unsuccessful adaptions of Haneke's grating style.
A few folks left my screening up around the 90 minute mark, their patience evidently worn thin. They'd seen the best of it, like the director's fling with the journo.
Now, if you really want to see someone stick it right up the bourgeoisie, you can't go past Haneke's mordant misbehaviour in Benny's Video (1992).
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