Our next Shuswap Film Society movie, Triangle of Sadness, has proven a bit of an enigma for me. The movie won the Grand Prize (P’alme d’Or) and an eight-minute standing ovation at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and yet the reviews are somewhat mixed. But I guess that’s the nature of social satire films — you just have to see them and decide for yourself.
The movie title is explained early at a modelling session for Carl of model/influencer couple Carl and Yaya (Yaya is masterfully played by South African actress Charlibi Dean who unfortunately passed away of a bacterial infection in August). The first part of the movie enlightens us about the politics of their relationship which seems mostly focused on gaining Instagram followers.
The second “chapter” is themed on social class and privilege. Carl and Yaya are invited on a cruise on a luxury yacht where they rub elbows with the super-rich and we see a very clear hierarchy between the entitled guests and the hardworking deckhands. The barely competent Captain (Woody Harrelson) leads as privileged a life as his passengers yet spouts the virtues of Marxism.
Things go awry when a storm kicks up during an extravagant dinner, which causes the wealthy guests to toss their very expensive cookies. There’s a visceral, rather hysterical 18-minute depiction of seasickness on the boat complete with cascades of vomit and bathroom sewage. Perhaps it’s just desserts but it’s not pretty.
A pirate attack sets up the final act in which several passengers wash up on the shore of an island. The capable Abigail, who was in charge of toilets on the ship, now holds the power and enjoys the privileges she gets by being on top of the social order. What measures will she go to to protect her new status when the possibility of rescue is presented?
The message of the movie is simply: power corrupts. We’re showing Triangle of Sadness for a week starting Friday, Jan. 13 to Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 nightly at the Salmar Classic.
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