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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 58,116 users  
Reviews: 254 user | 98 critic

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

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(uncredited)

Writers:

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

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Top 250 #239 | Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 31 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every family has a secret. 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:

 »
Edit

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

During the dinner with the speech, it was hard for the cameramen to fulfill the Dogme-rule about the cameras being handheld. The solution was to let some of the guests at the table hold the cameras themselves. See more »

Goofs

In an early scene, a cameraman can be seen reflected in a bedroom mirror (director Thomas Vinterberg noticed this but kept it in). 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

References Boys (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

I Skovens dybe stille ro
By Fritz Andersen
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User Reviews

 
This family would need a lot of help just to be dysfunctional.
26 May 1999 | by (Vancouver, British Columbia) – See all my reviews

First of all, the home video camera style, casting and editing perfectly suited the subject matter and script. Wealthy and overbearing patriarch is feted on the occasion of his 60th birthday -- extended family and hangers-on gather with some of the best and worst aspects of our culture on display. It's also a rather sad occasion, as one of daddy's daughters killed herself not long ago, but several guests mention how "nice" the funeral was, and which room is mine? Eldest son rises to give a toast to the old man -- and out comes some unpleasantness that people would either prefer to pretend they didn't hear, or stuff forcefully back down his throat. Then the fun really starts.

Thanks to the cast for acting with restraint -- and being believable.

Some very black humour (including pathetic scenes of the decadent bourgeoisie at play), none of it gratuitous, some of it damning, some just outrageously funny. But this is not a light film in any sense. Guess what really happens when the victimised family member tells the truth? Ouch! What about when mommy gets to choose between husband and child? Double ouch!! And finally, when victim asks dad why he did it -- well, prepare for the blow to the old solar plexus...

Trust me, I know. This is how it really happens. It's good to see a well-crafted film (that gives its human themes paramount importance) on this subject. I'm tired of watching films which try to make me feel sorry for rich kids whose parents just don't understand how hard it is to be a rich kid with pimples.

As the families (one in ten?) with histories like this one can attest, being "dysfunctional" would have been a very happy place to be, compared to the reality as shown in this fine film.


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