In the Art Institute of Chicago, in the modern section, is a huge painting that consist of a square piece (or pieces) of what looks like plywood...painted black. It is Untitled and is about 10-feet square. It does manage to stand out in the room filled with more colorful pieces.


I don't know who the artist is, but you can bet your bottom dollar that piece fetched a pretty penny if it has found a home in the AIC; the AIC is world renown as having one of the world's finest collections of fine art. Yet, one look at the painting and I determined somebody got taken!


Everyday, you will find people studying the painting, looking for meaning. You might even encounter a docent leading a tour and explaining the various textures, hues and brilliant brushstrokes in the painting. All I've ever seen is a piece of wood painted black.

Writer/director Ruben Ostlund's latest film is about the event surrounding an installation at an art museum in Gothenburg Sweden - actually it's at the Göteborgs Stadsmuseum (Goteborg City Museum) posing as an art museum. The story revolves around the museum's curator Christian (Claes Bang) who has a new installation he is promoting: The Square.


The Square is merely a lighted square area in the museum's courtyard in which random people can stand and be artistic. It's by an artist who has other stuff including mounds of shredded paper in a room. It's nt too clear but, the same artest also has a guy (Terry Notary) devolve into a caveman mentality. Anyway, it's some sort of performance art that only really enlightened people could possibly get! Oh, and those enlightend people are enlightened by their wealth.


What is risky is whether the wealthy enlightened people - aka the membership - be so moved by this rather simplistic form of art?

In the meantime, Christian has his smartphone stolen and it winds up in the low income housing section of town. He retrieves his phone but upsets a young boy who calls him out as a hypocrite.


Elisabeth Moss plays Anne, a reporter who is writing all this stuff down and sees the hypocrisy. Especially when the little boy gets hurt while exposing Christian. Then there's Michael (Christopher Laesso) who plays the obligatory black guy in Sweden.


All this happens just before the big gala; that time when the museum leans heavily on the membership to weasel out much needed funding. Naturally, that funding is important to Christian if he wants to keeps his cushy job.


The plot is a tad confusing, to say the least. Were it not for Fredrik Wenzel ("Turist", "Force Majeure") cinematography the film might lose your interest completely. Of course, Notary finally gets to act without a costume (he played King Kong in "Kong: Skull Island" and Rocket in "War for Planet of the Apes" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"). He's got serious ape impersonating skills.


It is a very intelligent comedy for people who like profound satire. The threat from the little boy is more comical than you might realize at the moment.


"The Square" is one of those films you either "get" or "don't get". It is a metaphor of the pomposity of high art and those who support high art. If one is not of a certain social status, is one artless; does one have a voice?   -- GEOFF BURTON