We already knew it, but here it is confirmed: the Swede Ruben Östlund, 48, is an iconoclastic filmmaker, unclassifiable, unpredictable. Talented too. Jury Prize in 2014 for the cruel Snow Therapy (2014), then Palme d’Or for the grating The Square (2017), he returned to the festival competition with a hair-raising, virtuoso, cruel film: Triangle of Sadness. Translated into French by Without filter. A title that has the advantage of being explicit about its content, which goes through the middle of fashion and advertising, beauty as market value and social mobility, the class struggle according to Marx, Groucho trend, money and the couple, the last gasps of the white male, gender relations, the hiccups of a society without landmarks. Here we are served.

The list is not exhaustive, and Ruben Östlund has the art of telling a preposterous story that takes us on a luxury cruise that goes wrong and on a desert island where a few survivors find themselves. Between satire, drama and comedy.

This triangle of sadness refers to a wrinkle between the eyebrows which, in Swedish, is called the worry wrinkle, which Botox can easily make disappear. “It’s funny, notes the filmmaker, as this little wrinkle symbolizes a manifest sign of our time, the primacy of aesthetics over well-being. »

Quietly installed in the garden of a residence, a stone’s throw from the Croisette, he promotes himself without ever depriving himself of bursting out laughing, all excited to find himself selected for the fifth time in a festival which catapulted him into the world.

In Unfiltered, we follow a couple of models and influencers, Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean Kriek), guests on a luxury cruise with its super-rich passengers and caring crew. As the gala dinner approaches, the captain (Woody Harrelson), worn out on the bottle, refuses to come out of his cabin. Soon, a storm rises. It will upset the beautiful order of things.

Without revealing much, we can say that the gritty, anti-conformist humor of the Swedish filmmaker strikes from the start of the film when we discover male models during a casting where they are scrutinized like fairground animals and asked to have a smile adequate for cheap brands or the dismissive gaze for luxury brands. The result is hilarious. Thanks to his companion, who is a fashion photographer, Ruben Östlund knows his subject well: “You should know that male models are paid three times less than women, he says, and that they often have problems with homosexual harassment. »

End of the parenthesis to get to the heart of the matter: the luxury cruise that the storm transforms into shambles, then into a vomitorium. We swim in delirium. The gags follow one another at full speed, the dialogues fuse, in particular between the American captain and communist and a Russian capitalist billionaire who admits in a fat laugh: “I sell shit! Fertilizers, what! And it makes a lot of money. Between two drinks, he quotes US President Richard Nixon: “The difference between a Communist and an anti-Communist? The first reads Marx and Lenin; the second includes Marx and Lenin. »

“Like the captain, emphasizes Ruben Östlund, my mother was on the left and read Marx. I was immersed in this culture symbolized by the East/West blocks and it amused me to reverse the roles and show who we are. ” The death of communism, the rise of populism, he notes them while underlining the influence of Karl Marx: “He is, for me, one of the founders of sociology, of human behavior, a subject that interests me in the above, and the theory of materialism with which I agree. »

Attention, it is difficult to classify on the left or on the right this adept of outspokenness and anti-political correctness who likes to cover his tracks to shake up our prejudices, our conditioned reflexes. A bit idealistic, he believes that “if not changing the world, a film can change mentalities, open up new horizons”. Without Filter does not advocate revolution or the anti-bourgeois crusade, but the possibility of an island where “human relations would be authentic, without class barriers”.

“I always wanted to be a free filmmaker, he insists, and to make European films that have a certain intellectual content, combined with the entertainment dear to Americans. Luis Buñuel and Lina Wertmüller testify to a cinema of the 1970s, wild and very amusing, which takes the viewer on a real ride. Me, I want to do the same, to make a film full of humor and which is like the roller coaster for adults. Unfiltered is an example of this.