The Celebration (Festen) (1998)
This Danish comedy drama centers on the 60th birthday party of patriarch Helge. Attending the party are Helge's children. When one of the children gets up to deliver a toast, he shocks everyone by accusing Helge of sexual abuse of his children.
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Critic Reviews for The Celebration (Festen)
The Celebration is founded on a cheeky display of cinephilic self-promotion.
gripping and devastatingly powerful
Best of the 'Dogme' fims, which isn't saying much, but there you go.
Extraordinary...It is a celebration, not of a sham birthday party, but of the transformative power of truth.
A major triumph for the Dogme group, and a success from any point of view.
Pungent family drama, but thuddingly self-serious and wildly overpraised.
It's a fine line to walk, that between comedy and misery, but Vinterberg handles the balancing act magnificently.
Watching the picture, it felt more like a cerebral experience, than a normal film.
Draws the viewer in with its immediacy, emotional rawness, and elements of surprise, shock and suspense.
showcases excellent acting, a great screenplay, and new innovative cinematography that is exciting and exhausting at the same time
Vinterberg, while successfully holding his viewer's attention and moving his tale along with dispatch, doesn't here justify the unpleasantness with fresh insight.
Audience Reviews for The Celebration (Festen)
This was the first film in the Dogme 95 film movement, which relied on a lack of technology in order to create films without special effects, and returned creative control to the directors over the studios. Vinterberg and von Trier are the most famous of those in the movement, and this film is a very good example of a story that relies on complex, emotionally dense characters to further plot. A family gathers, relying on tradition and family values to stay strong in the face of their daughter's suicide. Christian (Thomsen) reveals a horrible secret from his childhood and the rest of the film revolves around how the family handles this information, and what forms of denial everyone takes on. It's a film that speaks about tradition, about abuse, and about the way we process information when it concerns our own families. Christian's anger is so real, his grief at the death of his sister so vivid, that it's very difficult to watch. The reality of what someone you love has done, is an issue that everyone grapples with, and here it's handled poignantly. Vinterberg tells a story that is rife in conflict and familiar tyranny, and he does so with all the realism and irony of a confessional.More
The first film of the Dogme 95 movement is this riveting - and remarkably well put together - amalgam of hilarious farce and devastating family drama, where the dirty laundry is washed in an extremely revealing criticism of a burgeoisie trying to maintain its status quo.More
Simple, stripped-down film by Danish auteur Thomas Vinterberg, made under the Dogme 95 manifesto which, among other things, promotes shooting with a handheld camera while restricting the use of artificial lighting. The realistic, almost home-video style and look of the film makes it feel natural, organic, unrehearsed. Having seen a stage adaptation a few years ago, the film's main revelation did not come as a shock to me, but it wasn't any less devastating, thanks in great part to Ulrich Thomsen's work, a restrained performance that stands out even more when compared to some of his costars' overacting.More
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