Triangle of Sadness

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Albert Flores

Triangle of Sadness (Sans filtre|lit=Without Filter) is a 2022 internationally co-produced satirical black comedy film written and directed by Ruben Östlund in his English-language feature film debut. The film stars Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly de Leon, Zlatko Burić, Henrik Dorsin, Vicki Berlin, and Woody Harrelson. It is the last film Dean starred in preceding her death in August 2022.

Triangle of Sadness had its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival on 5 May 2022, where it received an eight-minute standing ovation and won the Palme d'Or, and was released in France on 28 September 2022, in the United States and Sweden on 7 October, in Germany on 13 October, and in the United Kingdom on 28 October. The film received generally positive reviews.

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Plot

Carl and Yaya are fashion models who are in a relationship mainly to grow each other's social media following; because she is significantly more successful, they argue about money and gender roles. They are invited on a free luxury cruise aboard a superyacht in exchange for promoting it on social media. +more Among the wealthy guests are Russian oligarch Dimitry and his wife Vera; elderly couple Clementine and Winston, who have made their fortune manufacturing weapons; Therese, who is only capable of speaking a single sentence in German following a stroke; and lonely tech millionaire Jarmo. The guests relax on the yacht, oblivious to the crew slaving away to meet their every need and whim, led by head of staff Paula, who demands they obey the guests' often absurd requests, including having every crew member jump into the ocean. Meanwhile, the yacht's captain, Thomas Smith, spends his time drunk in his cabin.

Paula manages to get Thomas to sober up and attend the captain's dinner as a storm hits the yacht. A combination of seasickness and food that spoiled while the kitchen staff were forced to swim results in several guests vomiting and defecating at the dinner and one going into cardiac arrest, sending the ship into a panic. +more The drunken Thomas and Dimitry argue about socialism and capitalism over the ship's intercom, and several guests are injured as the ship struggles in the storm and the power goes out. When morning arrives, pirates attack, kill Clementine and Winston with one of their own grenades, and capsize the yacht.

A small group of survivors consisting of Carl, Yaya, Dimitry, Therese, Paula, Jarmo, ship mechanic Nelson, and cleaner Abigail manage to escape to a deserted island. Abigail establishes herself as the only one with survival skills and quickly takes command, shedding her lowly crewmember status. +more As the survivors bond and come to terms with their new situation, Abigail gains more power, getting her own private bed inside the lifeboat. She and Carl begin a sexual relationship in exchange for Carl getting special privileges and food. Yaya grows jealous, and Carl considers leaving her for Abigail.

One day, Therese encounters a beach vendor but is unable to communicate with him about her situation. Yaya decides to hike to the other side of the island, and Abigail volunteers to go with her despite Carl's concerns. +more They discover an elevator and realize they have been "stranded" near a luxury resort the whole time. As Yaya celebrates, Abigail realizes she will soon be returned to her lowly position. As a presumably oblivious Yaya offers Abigail work as her assistant, Abigail prepares to attack her with a rock. A final shot shows Carl frantically running through the jungle.

Cast

Harris Dickinson as Carl * Charlbi Dean as Yaya * Dolly de Leon as Abigail * Zlatko Burić as Dimitry * Iris Berben as Therese * Vicki Berlin as Paula * Henrik Dorsin as Jarmo * Alicia Eriksson as Alicia * Jean-Christophe Folly as Nelson * Amanda Walker as Clementine * Oliver Ford Davies as Winston * Sunnyi Melles as Vera * Woody Harrelson as Captain Thomas Smith * Hanna Oldenburg as Yacht Steward

Production

The project was first announced by director Ruben Östlund in June 2017, after his film The Square won the Palme d'Or at the 70th Cannes Film Festival the previous month. He said the film was to be called Triangle of Sadness, a "wild" satire set against the world of fashion and the uber-rich, with "appearance as capital" and "beauty as currency" as the underlying themes. +more The title refers to a term used by plastic surgeons for the worry wrinkle that occurs between the eyebrows, which can be fixed with Botox in 15 minutes.

Research for some parts of the script took place in May 2018. Casting took place from August to November 2018 in Berlin, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles and Gothenburg, and continued in Moscow in March 2019. +more Location scouting began in January 2019 and lasted intermittently until October 2019. Östlund fine-tuned the last details of pre-production from November 2019 to the first half of February 2020.

In February 2020, it was reported that Triangle of Sadness would begin principal photography on 19 February in Sweden and Greece, with a 70-day shoot, and that the cast would include Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean and Woody Harrelson. About 120 actors were considered for the role that Dickinson landed. +more On 26 March, production was forced to pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic with about 37% of shooting completed. Editing started during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Production resumed on 27 June in Sweden, allowing Harrelson to finish his scenes, but was forced to stop once again on 3 July.

Production resumed on 18 September on location at Chiliadou Beach, Euboea, Greece, for the last 38 days. Photography wrapped on 13 November 2020, concluding a 73-day shoot. +more Östlund mentioned that the production carried out 1,061 COVID-19 tests throughout filming and all were negative. Filming also took place on other Greek islands, on the stages of Film i Väst in Trollhättan, Sweden, and in the Mediterranean Sea on the Christina O, the yacht formerly owned by Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy. In total, post-production lasted 22 months.

According to the actors, Östlund shot as many as 23 takes for each scene.

Release

Triangle of Sadness premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2022, and on 28 May won the festival's Palme d'Or. It opened the Sarajevo Film Festival in August. +more It was an official selection of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, where it held its North American premiere on 8 September, and the 2022 New York Film Festival (1 October). It also screened at the 2022 Aspen FilmFest (2 October) and the Adelaide Film Festival (20 October) in South Australia.

Neon acquired North American distribution rights for $8 million, winning a bidding war with A24, Searchlight Pictures/Hulu, Focus Features and Sony Pictures Classics. The film was released in France on 28 September 2022, in the United States and Sweden on 7 October, in Germany on 13 October, and in the United Kingdom on 28 October.

Owing to supporting actress Dolly de Leon's newfound fame in the Philippines, Filipino film company TBA Studios acquired exclusive domestic distribution rights to the film in the country.

Reception

Box office

, Triangle of Sadness has grossed $2.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $5.3 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $7.6 million.

In the United States, Triangle of Sadness opened in 10 locations in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco to a debut of $210,074, for a per theater average of $21,007. In its second weekend, it grossed $657,051 on 31 screens. +more In its third weekend, it grossed $600,000 on 280 screens, finishing tenth at the box office. In its fourth weekend, it grossed $548,999 on 610 screens.

Critical response

Accolades

AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)Result
Cannes Film FestivalMay 28, 2022Palme d'OrRuben ÖstlundWon
Cannes Film FestivalMay 28, 2022AFCAE Art House Cinema AwardRuben ÖstlundWon
European Film AwardsDecember 10, 2022European University Film AwardTriangle of SadnessPending

Palme d'Or winners

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