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Festen (The Celebration) (1998)

Festen (The Celebration) (1998)

A dark secret is exposed at a family reunion in Denmark. What entails, is a pitch-black comedy that will make you feel nauseous.

The Very Best

8.9

Movie

Denmark, Sweden
Danish, English, German
Comedy, Drama
1998
THOMAS VINTERBERG
Birgitte Simonsen, Birthe Neumann, Bjarne Henriksen
105 min

8.9

Theo

What it's about

During a family gathering, a celebration for their father's 60th birthday, the eldest son presents a speech that reveals a shocking secret to everyone.

The take

Whilst a classic in some circles, Festen is many things, but it's definitely not mainstream entertainment. It was shot by Danish director, Thomas Vinterberg, who founded the Dogme 95 movement together with Lars von Trier in 1995, which sought to put the auteur director back at the heart of filmmaking, as opposed to the power of the studios or special effects. This was the first movie to come out from that group. You thought your family was messed up? Think again. This macabre, Poe-esque, gut-wrenching tale of debauchery will leave you feeling confused and slightly nauseous. This effect is exacerbated by Winterberg's directing style and the crazy camerawork of Anthony Dod Mantle. With a highly volatile tone and a great cast, the effect Festen has on you is not easily shaken off.

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