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
As the guests dance through the house, a boom mic can clearly be seen in the bottom left corner of the screen as they enter one of the rooms. 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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The DVD also contains an alternative ending. See more »
Orchestrated family drama - in which you, the viewer, take part
Evidently following the Dogme-95 technique, rather like a latter day Imagiste writing his last verses, and equally evidently influenced by Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterburg gets us intermeshed personally into the unfolding story. The viewer at once feels as if he is one of those present at the family gathering to celebrate father's birthday, not simply a spectator in a comfortable seat in the fourteenth row. For Hollywood-bred people, you might argue that everything seems so "amateurish". But those of us able to reach higher, deeper, and profound story-telling in the best tradition of European film-making, "Festen" must not be missed. The character-playing, camera technique and use of light and shade, is unique, something quite apart from the run-of-the-mill fodder mass-fed to the undiscerning pop-corn squad. "Festen" has to be seen three or four times for you to be able to digest what is simply pure basic hardcore cinematography at its best: wonderfully executed by actors who put Kodak Theatre red-carpet walkers to shame. A must see.
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