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Festen
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Celebration More at IMDbPro »Festen (original title)

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Index 254 reviews in total 

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Incredible camara + wonderful game of sensations

10/10
Author: xmephisto from New York
15 December 2001

Amazing camara, very unfamiliar shots that provide power to the scenes. The story is managed in such a nice way that makes you feel in the celebration. This movie made me experiment a rainbow of feelings. Great!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Film!

10/10
Author: morris75 from Scottsdale, AZ
22 June 2001

The most surprising and hilarious film I have ever seen! The acting is superb, even with the subtitles, as they are not distracting. The style is very interesting and the story is simply awesome. If you like independent films, then you should have no problem with this one.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Best movie ever.

10/10
Author: SozeTheKeyser (m.risom@gmail.com) from Aarhus, Denmark
2 April 2001

Ever wondered what movie is the best in the whole wide world. It's easy if you decide to watch The Celebration or Festen as it's called in danish.

Maybe Dogme95 could scare you because of the rough movie style, but do not be alarmed. Even if you don't get kicks by dogme95(hey some of us do)the movie in it self grabs and does not loosen it's grip untill it's over. But Festen will always be in your memory, brilliant lighting(there is none), actors and mood. It is all so perfect that even Steven Spielberg had announced that he would make dogme, but only the true dogme95: Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Søren Kragh Jacobsen and (i can't remember the last guys name). But at least three of them masters the movie making of gods.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

don't talk about it, see it

10/10
Author: charbrom
28 February 2001

Every family has a somehow obscure past and what great fun it would be if some people, after having seen 'Festen', get the inspiration to address their relatives holding a green and a yellow envelope to reveal some hidden secrets. This was one of the many thoughts I had after seeing this truly great film, that can be easily put on every film classics list. The one thing you shouldn't do is tell people what this film is about. Just urge them to see it. They will sit back in silence, just as many packed audiences have, when the music box plays its melody and the final credits are shown. This is the best Dogma-film this far and I think it will be for a very long time. Don't miss it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

absolutely riveting, edge of your seat stuff

10/10
Author: quin1974 (quin@hideout.demon.nl) from Den Haag, The Netherlands
22 December 2000

I had wanted to see this movie for a long time, because I had heard a lot about it and the Dogma 95 Manifest. Finally I had the chance to see it on video, and I must say this movie kicks every tearjerker Hollywood movie out there. I do not mean to classify this a tearjerker, 'cause it is not.

It is a tale of people living with a dark secret and wanting to get rid of this finally after a long time. I did not know the secret before I started watching this, so 30 minutes or so into the movie it hit me smack in the face as if I had driven into a wall at 50 mph. It was so shocking to hear it that I felt very uncomfortable watching people in so much pain being misunderstood, exiled.

The biggest asset in this movie must be the Dogme 95 Manifest. The emotions in the story are perfectly portrayed by all of the magnificent cast, who are truly awesome. The emotions do not come from some composer's teary soundtrack or a director of photography's lighting, this is pure and simple an actor's movie. Vinterberg directs this cast with such confidence that you are bolted to your chair for 105 minutes.

The symbolic constant reappearance of Christian (Ulrich Thomsen) was a great find in letting him portray the secret that won't go away and will come back to haunt the family, his way of playing this character was riveting, always on the bring of insanity, but on the other in total control of his feelings. The brother Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen) is the obnoxious rascist person who has trouble with just about everybody. He doesn't know anything about this secret and can't believe a word his brother is saying. Sister Helene (Paprika Steen) is the one who doesn't want the secret to come out in order to save the family from its own dark secrets, during the course of the movie she is eating by her own guilt and ultimately gives in to it. Sister Linda (Lene Laub Oksen) is the sister who has committed suicide a year before this story unfolds because of this horrible secret. Certainly the most tragic of all characters was the mother (Birthe Neumann) of all the children, she has known about this all along and doesn't want anybody to know this secret either to protect her husband or in fear of her husband. She has lost a daughter to this secret and has to live constantly on the edge between truth and lies.

Certainly not everybody will like this movie as much as I did. But people who are willing to pay attention to story, great acting and are not turned off by shaky camera movement are in for a rollercoaster ride.

And I keep referring to the "secret" in this review because I don't want to spoil anything for first-time viewers.

10/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

a great film (well, video)

9/10
Author: Ben Ferris (ferris512) from Pittsburgh, PA (USA)
25 September 2000

I loved this movie. The camera work may be hard to get used to at first, but stick with it. The story and the acting are what dominate this movie. By far, the best of the dogma projects. It's a movie that reminds me just how much most modern American movies lack emotional depth. I have a feeling if William Shakespeare was alive today, he'd be making movies like this.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not a nice film , but a good one.

Author: (bad_motherfuka@hotmail.com) from London, England
18 August 2000

I was initially dubious when i first learnt of the dogme 95 rules for film making. I thought such guidelines and limitations would lead to the sort of pretentious film making which is more at home in the tate modern than on the cinema screen. So festen came as a pleasant surprise to me , as i actually quite enjoyed it. An almost voyeuristic peak into the ( titanic understatement coming up...) dysfunctional family headed by patriarch Helge , it is set at the party celebrating his sixtieth birthday. During the first twenty minutes i developed the depressing feeling that it was going to be another predictable film about family bereavement , marked only by a wobbly camera and natural lighting. I was wrong , a set of horrific , shocking , uncomfortable revelations , and the almost surreal first reactions to them , plunge the hitherto unneventful celebration into the family reunion from hell. The dogme 95 restrictions give the whole thing the feel of a home video , i almost felt intrusive witnessing these events. The ending i was impressed with , it's possibly the happiest ending one could expect after the events of this film , but it still felt quite downbeat. All the performances were astounding , usually i find it hard to judge an actor when i am reading subtitles , but in this film the performances were so naturalistic that i couldn't help but be impressed. I would class this film alongside raging bull and Nil by mouth in that i think it is a great film , yet not entirely pleasurable to watch. A very impressive film. 9/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Real men versus actors - no longer a question - both.

Author: Ecsedi Zsolt (ecsedizs@freemail.hu) from Debrecen, Hungary
17 August 2000

I firmly believe that some of our most revealing experiences take place in places and times we least expect. Going to the cinema is rarely considered an activity for spiritual improvement. (Some of us do believe in it but afraid to emphasize it in public. Those of us who have witnessed The Celebration may not be so timid anymore.)

If something or somebody want to have a spiritually interpretable impact on me, they need to be credible. Being credible requires reality. Finding reality - in its purest sense: where the things encountered are things deprived of disguise - in a movie is, in most cases, totally unexpected.

Not in The Celebration. From the very beginning to the very end, the characters take you to a stage where all you need is guts to see what is really around you, what really matters in life. And all this beautiful disclosure is the sole product of the actors' meticulous acts of unfolding every little reality atoms. This is perhaps because each and every word, each and every wrinkle has its own story, and significance - or not: just like in life. One of the most challenging tasks would be to decide whether the movie is so credible because the actors are real masters of their vocation or because they do not play, just exist for the sake of pumping your heart, opening your eyes, and making you really happy and sad for being part of reality.

In my version, the actors worth mentioning are: the cast, the crew, and digitcam - For they all contributed to the success of the film as much as a human being possibly can.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Festen - a harrowing story beautifully told

9/10
Author: Craig Wood (boneycmw@yahoo.co.uk) from Leicester, England
9 July 2000

Festen (The Celebration) impresses on many levels. Compared to other productions, particularly those of Lars Von Trier, there are more abstract elements, less of a documentary style and more emphasis on storytelling. In the earlier part of the film when you are getting to know the family members and their circumstances and personalities, there is wonderful intercutting between the brother's and sisters in their various rooms within the hotel where the party is taking place, which in tandem with the unfolding narrative regarding the demise of their late sister is incredibly powerful. A striking tale which looks at issues of sexual abuse, family politics and how people react to shock, I would strongly recommend Festen to anyone, especially those familiar with the Dogme style who aren't put off by it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Hard-edged and abrasive drama from the Dogme 95 collective.

8/10
Author: JChaplin from Toronto, Canada
22 March 2000

This film is the first to be released from a member of the Dogme 95 collective of directors formed in Copenhagen in 1995. The central premise of the collective is its 'vow of chastity' which, among other criteria, decrees that only hand-held cameras may be used. Unfortunately, this is one of the dictates that undermines the viewing of the film; on the one hand there is some great photography as seen in the early car scenes and on the other hand there is so much shaky and jerky camera work that viewing becomes very irritating, perhaps intentionally so.

Nevertheless, I add my endorsement to this collective and the purity of its aims. I rated this film 8/10 for its excellent cast and its unpredictable, cohesive, and disturbing narrative, but I would have rated the movie 9 if the subtitles had been edited for consistency and verisimilitude by someone for whom English was their first language. Forgive me if I am wrong but it does not appear so; characters use a wide range of strong language that is unsatisfactorily translated.

I must add that I particularly approve of the collective's disavowal of the use of script contrivances like murder and weapons - devices that are absurdly banal in typical film industry product.

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