If anything, it’s clear from Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund’s oeuvre that he enjoys watching people squirm. From the characters in his movies to the audience itself, Östlund revels in eliciting protracted moments of discomfort. And yet, these moments aren’t due to the typical cinematic purveyors of discomfort- high Hitchcockian suspense, or gruesome depictions of horror and violence. Instead, Östlund preys (with uncanny verisimilitude) on humanity's most banal behaviour; the moments where we weren’t at our best, the moments where we were less than ideal, the moments in hindsight that we would’ve liked to have . . .
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