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A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
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 argument. 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
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 »
All children "disappear" just before the dinner. See more »
[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.
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I always wanted to watch "Festen" since I knew about the Dogme 95. As any Danish movie, it was released in a unique cultural theater. And, as most of the European movies, in less than 3 weeks, it wasn't...
OK, you'll tell the truth: I don't know why but I didn't watch it on a theater, and I could have done it. I waited for its release in video but all the times I went to the videostore I forgot to rent it. But one year after the release on theaters, it was rolling in Eurochannel (a cable-TV channel. It's all about Europe). I couldn't miss that chance so, on a Friday night, at 22:00, I finally watched it. And what an AMAZING film!!!
At first, the plot seems interesting and simple but after 20 minutes you finally realize how strong and provocative Festen really is. It's about one celebration made by the patriarch of the family Kingenfelt in the hotel where he lives. He's commemorating his 60 years. Christian, the older son, makes a speech where secrets are revealed.
The rules of the Dogme 95 as the use of natural light, camera in the hands, etc, help to create a claustrophobic and confidential clime, like nobody knows that someone is filming them. The scenes look incredibly real. Paprika Steen (Helene) and Ulrich Thomsen (Christian) were more than extraordinary. Paprika is a great actress and I can't stand waiting to watch "Idiotern", the second Dogme, in which she's acting again.
"Festen" is not just a worth watching film. It's a worth watching, re-watching, watching again, renting many times and recording to watch it a hundred times. Being the first Dogme, it's a mark in the cinema's history.
Grade - A+
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