Ruben Östlund

Sweden, France, Denmark2020118 MinSwedish

Subtitles: DE, EN, ES, FR, HU, IT, PL, PT, RO, UA, CE

Not available


PLAY by Swedish director Ruben Östlund stunned audiences and gave food for deep thought at its Directors’ Fortnight screening.

- Cineuropa -


PLAY is an astute observation based on real cases of bullying, also tackling racism and integration in Europe. In central Gothenburg, Sweden, a group of boys, aged 12-14, robbed other children on about 40 occasions between 2006 and 2008. The thieves used an elaborate scheme called the ‘brother trick’, involving advanced role-play and gang rhetoric rather than physical violence...

  • Quinzaine des Réalisateurs 2011
  • LUX Prize 2011
  • Starring:  Anas Abdirahman, Sebastian Blyckert, Yannick Diakite, Sebastian Hegmar, Abdiaziz Hilowle, Nana Manu, John Ortiz, Kevin Vaz
  • Production:  Plattform Produktion, Coproduction Office ApS, Parisienne de Production

Ruben Östlund was inspired by a story in Gothenburg. Between 2006 and 2008, a group of teenagers of African origin had developed a strategy to extort money from other children in a shopping centre. Through skilful role-playing and the use of rhetoric, they were able to achieve their goals without violence, in front of victims who were forced to obey the racketeering of their own free will. The Swedish filmmaker has developed a film that questions our social rules and political correctness. Play offers food for thought on racism and integration in Europe.

- Olivier Père, Director of ARTE France Cinéma -

Ruben Östlund

Ruben Östlund was born in 1974 in Styrsö, a small Swedish island and is a multi-award winning director. INVOLUNTARY premiered in Cannes 2008 and awarded Östlund international recognition. Two years later he won the Golden Bear in Berlin for the short film INCIDENT BY A BANK. The premiere of PLAY (2011) was held in Cannes at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, where he was awarded the ‘Coup de coeur’ Prize. It was also nominated for the prestigious LUX prize of the European Parliament. FORCE MAJEURE premiered at Un Certain Regard in Cannes, where it was awarded the Jury Prize. The film was selected in countless festivals and won 16 Best Foreign film awards. THE SQUARE is the fourth of Östlund’s films to premiere in Cannes and his first feature to be selected in the Official Selection. It won the Palme d'Or in 2017 and was an Oscar Nomination for Best Foreign Film in 2018.

One detail I found very interesting is that all the victims, from the very beginning, knew they were going to be robbed. Still, they followed the robbers from crowded places to an empty back street (...) Apparently, we humans are so afraid of questioning the rules that we try to push conflict – chaos - in front of us as long as possible.