‘Triangle of Sadness’ director Ruben Östlund suggests cameras should be licensed and regulated like firearms

The Oscar-winning filmmaker proposes cameras be licensed the same way guns are in most countries

Published - April 14, 2024 12:59 pm IST

Ruben Ostlund

Ruben Ostlund | Photo Credit: STEPHANE MAHE

Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, known for his work on The Square and the Academy award-winning Triangle of Sadness, has sparked a discussion by proposing the idea of requiring a license for camera usage. In an interview with The Guardian, Östlund highlighted the societal impact of cinema, suggesting that camera regulation should mirror that of firearms in certain countries.

“I have an idea. What if you were only allowed to use a camera if you have a license? You need one for a gun — at least in sophisticated countries. The camera is also a powerful tool”, the Palme d’Or-winner said.

Östlund’s proposal stems from a belief in the need for responsible media consumption, especially in today’s screen-dominated culture.

“Movies are changing the world and it’s important to take that into consideration when you’re in this profession,” Östlund explained. “In the entertainment industry there is the strange sense that if you’re dealing with fiction then it’s not going to affect the world. You have to fight quite hard to make people realize what kind of effect the images we consume have.”

The filmmaker also emphasized the enduring significance of communal cinematic experiences.

“It offers some kind of citizens’ assembly, all reacting and starting to formulate things together. Physical meetings where you can discuss what you have experienced will be more and more important as people move into a meta world,”

He lauded theaters as vital spaces for collective dialogue, saying, “We have finally realized its unique point is not the big screen. It’s having to process information in a completely different way, because someone might ask you what you think. When you’re watching things individually, you are not processing the images in an intellectual way but like a zombie.”

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