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The Celebration (1998)

Festen (original title)
R | | Drama | 19 June 1998 (Denmark)
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At Helge's 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.

Director:

Thomas Vinterberg (uncredited)

Writers:

Thomas Vinterberg (screenplay), Mogens Rukov (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 28 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ulrich Thomsen ... Christian
Henning Moritzen ... Faderen - Helge
Thomas Bo Larsen ... Michael
Paprika Steen ... Helene
Birthe Neumann Birthe Neumann ... Moderen - Else
Trine Dyrholm ... Pia
Helle Dolleris Helle Dolleris ... Mette
Therese Glahn Therese Glahn ... Michelle
Klaus Bondam Klaus Bondam ... Toastmasteren - Master of Ceremonies
Bjarne Henriksen Bjarne Henriksen ... Kokken - Kim
Gbatokai Dakinah Gbatokai Dakinah ... Gbatokai
Lasse Lunderskov Lasse Lunderskov ... Onklen - Uncle
Lars Brygmann ... Receptionisten - Receptionist
Lene Laub Oksen Lene Laub Oksen ... Søsteren - Sister
Linda Laursen Linda Laursen ... Birthe
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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 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 Jonas L.

Plot Summary | Plot 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Denmark | Sweden

Language:

Danish | German | English

Release Date:

19 June 1998 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Celebration See more »

Filming Locations:

Sjælland, Denmark See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,621, 11 October 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,647,780, 21 February 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film has been labelled by many critics as a "black comedy", according to Thomas Vinterberg, it was never meant to be a comedy at all, but people laugh at the cruelty of this film. He also dislikes the label himself, saying "it's a drama and there are some laughs." 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

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

 
God bless the Dogme 95!
7 May 2000 | by ArtêmisSee all my reviews

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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