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
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 »
[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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There's Something Rotten in the State of Denmark...
"Festen" aka "The Celebration" was the impressive directorial debut of the young Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg ("It's All About Love", "Dear Wendy"), and the first film made according to the rules of the daring Dogme 95 movement. It shows that you don't need big budgets to make a great film. However, Dogme wouldn't work if its films weren't as daring as its ideals of film-making - and "Festen" proved that those guys really have much to say.
"Festen" is an extremely cruel film, and it's somewhat uneasy to watch in some moments. The celebration of the title refers to the 60th birthday of Helge Klingenfeldt-Hansen (Henning Moritzen), who entertains his big family in his castle. But Helge's son, Christian (Ulrich Thomsen, excellent), whose twin sister recently committed suicide, has an important revelation that will surprise - and displease
many people; in the meantime, other secrets are revealed and nobody
will get away clean. "Festen" deserved all praise/awards it got in international festivals (it won the Jury Prize at Cannes 98) and is a great introduction to Danish cinema. My vote is 10/10.
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