In theaters since Wednesday, “Without Filter” is Ruben Östlund’s fierce new satire. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the last Cannes Film Festival, the film takes us aboard a cruise that turns into a nightmare.
Without filter of Ruben Ostlund
With Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean Kriek, Woody Harrelson
What is it about ? After Fashion Week, Carl and Yaya, a couple of models and influencers, are invited on a yacht for a luxury cruise. While the crew takes great care of the vacationers, the captain refuses to leave his cabin as the famous gala dinner approaches. Events take an unexpected turn and the balance of power is reversed when a storm rises and endangers the comfort of the passengers.
Second Palme and first film in English
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Without filter won the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. This is the second Palme de Ruben Ostlundafter The Square in 2017.
Of Swedish origin, the director signs his first film in English. His scripts dealing with universal subjects, the main difficulty for him was to grasp the nuances of Shakespeare’s language. The actors allowed him to fill in his gaps and enrich the dialogues. However, he underlines: “I am divided on the fact of making films in English because I remain critical of the domination of Anglo-Saxon culture. The influence she has on Sweden and on Scandinavia has taken on delirious proportions.”
triangle of sadness
The original title of Without filter is Triangle of Sadness, “triangle of sadness” in French. This refers to a term used in the beauty industry. One of the friends of Ruben Ostlund was told by a cosmetic surgeon at a party about a wrinkle between her eyebrows: “You have a pretty deep triangle of sadness… But I can fix that with Botox in fifteen minutes.”
The director says: “In Swedish, we call it the worry wrinkle, it would be the sign that we have had a lot of hardships in our life. I found it to be indicative of our times’ obsession with looks and how inner well-being is, in a way, secondary.”
The exterior scenes on the yacht were filmed on the Cristina O, the Onassis’ former yacht. The director explains: “This yacht is a very strong symbol of the elite of the 60s and 70s and of the host of famous and powerful men like Churchill who spent a lot of time on board. The team shot nine days on the yacht, which represented a significant budget. Filming on the boat ended the day before the start of a new confinement. “If it had been decreed a few days earlier, I don’t know how we could have finished the film”, says Ruben Ostlund.
Pin the middle of fashion
After the world of contemporary art in The Square, Ruben Ostlund tackles the fashion world, which he knows well for having created in 2018 a clothing line (called “Discreet Bourgeoisie”) for the Swedish men’s brand of his friend Per Andersson, Velor. His partner is also a fashion photographer.
He discovered during his research that male models generally earn three times less than a woman. This salary disparity was an opportunity to stage a couple of models and observe the difference in treatment between them. He specifies: “Many male models have told me that they are often confronted with homosexual men with a lot of power in the industry who want to sleep with them, sometimes against the promise of a better career.
– Number of actors auditioned for the main role of Carl: 120
– Average number of shots per scene: 23
– Hours of rushes: 171
– Assembly time: 22 months
– Shooting days: 73 spread over 3 periods (19.02.2020 – 26.03.2020 in Sweden / 27.06.2020 – 03.07.2020 in Sweden / 18.09.2020 – 13.11.2020 in Greece)
– Number of covid tests carried out during production: 1061 / all negative