Ruben Östlund will return to Cannes, this time to lead jury

The love affair between Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund and the Cannes Film Festival continues.

The 48-year-old director will return to the scene of his recent triumph, as it was just last year that his “Triangle of Sadness” came away with the coveted Palme d’Or, the top prize at the most prestigious festival in world cinema. (Don’t tell Venice I said that.) 

I am happy, proud, and humbled to be trusted with the honor of jury president for this year’s competition at the Festival de Cannes,” he wrote in an announcement released by the festival early Tuesday morning. “I am sincere when I say that cinema culture is in its most important period ever,” he continued.  

Östlund’s “Triangle” is, of course, currently a long-shot Oscar candidate in three categories: Best Director (a nomination for Östlund), Best Original Screenplay (another nomination for Östlund), and Best Picture (a nomination for producers Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober). Dolly de Leon, who many hoped would get a nod for Best Supporting Actress, didn’t do so with the Academy, but did get nominated at the BAFTAs and Golden Globes.

The Swedish film director’s previous project, “The Square,” also won the Palme D’Or in 2017, and was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar (losing to Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman”). And the one before that, “Force Majeure” (remade with Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as “Downhill” in 2020) won the Jury Prize and Cannes’s Un Certain Regard section in 2014 (and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes).

All of which is to say that Cannes just simply can’t get enough of this guy. With his double-Palme win, he joins an elite club that also includes Francis Ford Coppola, Bille August, Emir Kusturica, Michael Haneke, Ken Loach, Shōhei Imamura, his countryman Alf Sjöberg, and the Dardenne Brothers. He joins an even more elite club, with only the American Coppola and Serbian Kusturica as double-Palme winners who then led the jury. Both didn’t get the call to do so for about a decade after their second win. Östlund is the first to be announced while his celebrated picture is still in theaters!

The Cannes statement also noted that this year’s festival coincides with the 50th anniversary of fellow Swede Ingrid Bergman heading the jury. That year the top prize was a split between “Scarecrow” (an under-seen Gene HackmanAl Pacino film) and Robert Shaw and Sarah Miles in “The Hireling.” They both beat out “The Mother and the Whore,” “Fantastic Planet,” and “Electra Glide in Blue.” “The Holy Mountain,” “Cries and Whispers,” “Day For Night,” “Wattstax” and an Orson Welles-narrated documentary based on Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock” all showed out-of-competition. Time machine, please!

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