Spoiler alert: The above clip is from late in the plot of “Triangle of Sadness”
Set partly aboard a luxury yacht, Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or-winning comedy “Triangle of Sadness” is a robust satire of privilege among the jet set. But it’s a satire in which the most memorable character is a middle-aged “toilet manager” named Abigail, played by Filipina actress Dolly De Leon, who is seen along with Harris Dickinson in the exclusive clip above.
Not well known outside of her native Philippines before the film’s Cannes premiere, De Leon has received vast acclaim from critics and audiences for her sly, unpredictable performance as Abagail. So far, she has won a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award and been nominated for a Golden Globe and a London Critics Circle Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.
The scene above does not take place on a yacht but on a lifeboat, as Abigail has become the leader of a group of castaways on a deserted island. Her ability to catch food and build fire has elevated her to top social status, above her fellow shipwreck survivors, including oligarchs and fashion models.
And one of those fashion models, Carl (played by Dickinson), has become a sort of concubine for Abigail. “You give me something and I give you something in return,” she tells him in this scene.
De Leon spoke to TheWrap recently about the impact of this moment in the film, in which an unconventional sexual relationship is portrayed with a degree of reality and consequence. Although he favors raucous comedy, especially during the yacht scenes, Östlund (“Force Majeure” and “The Square”) shifts to a more serious tone in this third act of the film, especially in terms of the flipped gender imbalance.
“Yeah, it’s an older woman and a younger man,” De Leon said. “People could easily think that was some sort of joke or find it uncomfortable or gross, so it was important for the audience to believe that Carl is the type of man who’s attracted to power. It’s power, more than anything else, that turns him on. And I wanted to add an element of sensuality in the power that Abigail wields, so it makes more sense in the story. Carl stays with her as a survival tactic, but he also actually finds her power sexy.”
In the scene above, Abigail and Carl discuss the dynamic of their relationship, and whether he should split with his fellow fashion model girlfriend (played in the film by Charlbi Dean, who died following a sudden illness last August). For an explanation from director Östlund on the film’s question-mark of an ending, click here.
“Triangle of Sadness” (the title comes from the wrinkles that form a triangle in between your eyebrows) is playing in theaters and available to rent via streaming platforms.