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The Celebration (1998)
"Festen" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  19 June 1998 (Denmark)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 52,855 users  
Reviews: 249 user | 92 critic

At Helge's 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Celebration (1998)

The Celebration (1998) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Top 250 #226 | Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 28 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Christian
...
Faderen - Helge
...
Michael
...
Helene
Birthe Neumann ...
Moderen - Else
...
Pia
Helle Dolleris ...
Mette
Therese Glahn ...
Michelle
Klaus Bondam ...
Toastmasteren - Master of Ceremonies
Bjarne Henriksen ...
Kokken - Kim
Gbatokai Dakinah ...
Gbatokai
Lasse Lunderskov ...
Onklen - Uncle
...
Receptionisten - Receptionist
Lene Laub Oksen ...
Søsteren - Sister
Linda Laursen ...
Birthe
Edit

Storyline

The Father turns 60. His family, which is a big one of the kind, gathers to celebrate him on a castle. Everybody likes and respects the father deeply...or do they? The Youngest Son is trying to live up to The Father's expectations. He is running a grill-bar in a dirty part of Copenhagen. The oldest son runs a restaurant in France, while the sister is a anthropologist. The older sister has recently committed suicide and the father asks the oldest son to say a few words about her, because he is afraid he will break into tears if he does it himself. The oldest son agrees without arguments. Actually he has already written two speeches. A yellow and a green one. By the table, he asks the father to pick a speech. The father chooses green. The oldest son announces that this is the Speech of Truth. Everybody laughs, except for the father who gets a nervous look on his face. For he knows that the oldest son is about to reveal the secret of why the oldest sister killed herself. Written by Jonas L.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Alle familier har en hemmelighed See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and language, including references to sexual abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 June 1998 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

The Celebration  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$27,621 (USA) (9 October 1998)

Gross:

$647,523 (Norway) (26 March 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Thomas Vinterberg "confessed" to having covered a window during the shooting of one scene, which is a breaking of two Dogme rules - no bringing props onto the set, and no use of special lighting. See more »

Goofs

The song ("I have seen a real negro man") Michael starts after a confrontation with Gbatokai, is in fact not, as Helene claims, racist. The song, originating in the early 1970s, are using words that, at the time, was not politically incorrect, which is part of the reason many people falsely believe it to be racist. Another reason for this miscomprehension comes when the final verse is left out. This verse explains how all people should be painted blue, both because people would be more funny to look at, but also because "Then black and red and yellow and white could live together in a world without strife". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[subtitled version]
Christian Klingenfeldt: [on his cellphone] Christian speaking... Hi, I'm here now. I landed this morning. What? Er... Washed? I shaved at the airport if you must know. I shaved at the airport if you must know! I'm fine... right now I'm looking across the fields. At the land of my father. It's beautiful. It makes me want to move back for good, but that'd be problematical. I'll make it. Yes, I suppose it will be... shocking. What?... You're dropping out. O.K. Bye.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Det danske dogmeri (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

I Skovens dybe stille ro
By Fritz Andersen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A knockout!
12 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

So many critics seem to have missed the point of "The Celebration," which is almost unbelievable because it actually does have a point, and I feel like I got it between the eyes with a sledgehammer. This is a movie about, among other things, the power of social conventions, how we depend on them to deal with unpleasantness, and just how stubborn and difficult they can be to circumvent, even when your life depends on it.

What knocks me out is how much I'm convinced by the whole thing. Every sad detail makes perfect sense. There is so much wisdom here that it never overreaches, no matter how deep in the storytellers get.

In particular, the medium of digital video is used in an outstanding way that adds authenticity to the experience. Think about it- most of the hand-held video work we've seen is of our own family events. When we watch the only scene in which Christian weeps, with Gbatokai leaning over and giving moral support, it could almost pass for a candid moment in a homemade documentary.

I've seen a lot of good family dramas, but rarely have I had such an urge to hug the main character and unleash profanity at several of the others.


35 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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