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Festen (The Celebration) (1998)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.

Comedy, Drama

best
THE VERY BEST

8.9

movie

Denmark, Sweden

Danish, English, German

1998

Thomas Vinterberg

Birgitte Simonsen, Birthe Neumann, Bjarne Henriksen

105 min

Synopsis

A grandiose party to celebrate a sixtieth birthday unleashes a family drama with all the lies that conceal horrendous secrets. The eldest son, Christian, stages a showdown with the popular pater familias; his provocative, moving after-dinner speech dislodges all the masks, which finally fall completely as the father-son conflict intensifies and the bewildered guests look on.

Our Take

8.9
Theo

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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