Triangle Of Sadness Director Ruben Ostlund Is Eager For More People To Walk Out Of His Next Movie

On a recent episode of Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast, Östlund told Janelle Riley his next feature, “The Entertainment System Is Down,” will take place on a long-haul plane trip where passengers are horrified to discover that their options for in-flight distraction have entirely disappeared. Sure, people have their phones and laptops and tablets, but those batteries only last so long. Unless you’re one of those freaks who reads physical media, all you’ve got is yourself and your travel companions. Which circle of Dante’s Hell is this again?

Östlund gave Riley a taste of what he’s up to by describing a scene where a bored young boy wants to borrow his older brother’s iPad. He’s told by a parent that he has to wait five minutes, which, for a child, is an eternity. Per Östlund:

“[I] want to challenge the audience. You stay with the kid in real time. And he’s looking in the catalog, putting it back and the restlessness is coming. So he asks his mother, ‘How much do we have left?’ And she says, ‘Well, now it’s four minutes and 45 seconds, you have to calm down.'”

If Östlund successfully realizes his vision of profound boredom (exacerbated by the catastrophic setting), he hopes to set a Cannes Film Festival record for walkouts. “I think it’s going to be more provocative than any violent, any disturbing content,” he said. “Because to be left alone with your thoughts and challenging the audience to do the same thing, then it’s going to be very interesting.”

As a claustrophobe with an extreme fear of flying, this sounds like a recipe for irrevocable trauma. So why am I so giddy with anticipation to see it?

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