The Celebration [Import]
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The Celebration [Import]
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Top Customer Reviews
As the film opens, we see various people, in groups of two, three, and more, converge on a large house--walking, driving, and bicycling. They are gathering to celebrate the 60th birthday of the man who fathered four children--they who have now come to pay their respects with their wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends. The man has made a tidy sum thanks to his unnamed business, and he and his wife live quite comfortably. Also invited are the older couple's friends, and by the time everyone has arrived, there is a full house indeed, all seated at the host's large dinner table.
Speeches are made, glasses are chinked together in toasts, food is eaten. The daughter has a black American boyfriend and it's a wicked foreshadowing that has him insulted by one of his girlfriend's brothers--an out and out racist remark.
This sets the stage for a shocking turn of events when one of the man's sons stands and proposes a toast to his father that leaves the guests completely stunned. A dark secret is revealed that is so out of place with the reason for the "celebration", nothing can ever be the same following the younger man's toast.
The drama here is powerful, intense, seething. One of the trademark strengths of Dogme 95 cinema, as many of us know by now, is its focus on story alone, without reliance on any special effects--CGI, lighting, or otherwise--and Vinterberg has here wisely chosen a story so strong that to "enhance" it with anything remotely resembling special effects would be doing it a major disservice--would be, in fact, blatantly stupid.
This is one of the best Danish films of the 20th century and should absolutely not be missed.
Very highly recommended.
It's refreshing to see such a well crafted, intelligently acted, and unflinching look at family dysfunction. (And you thought that "Ordinary People" was tough to watch!) The director does a good job of not glorifying the dysfunction - the movie is centered on the reactions and the relationship between father/son, between brothers, brother/sister, wife/husband, etc..., more than focused on the dysfunction itself.
The only negative thing about this movie was the lighting. I don't care what the "Dogma" group says, bad lighting is bad lighting. Because this movie was shot with a handheld and subsequently transferred to 35mm film, a lot of the lighting is so bad that the film appears very grainy - and not the cool, artsy, atmospheric graininess of "Eraserhead" but just grainy. Maybe he was going for the home-movie look, but hard on the eyes nonetheless.
Be warned, this is not the colorful, bad-sweater-wearing Cosby family with stern after-school-special toned messages about "say no to drugs/stay in school" family dysfunction... This is an intense, squirm-inducing, double-barrelled look at difficult family relationships.
This film has a great story and is very well acted. It is fresh and original. Many Americans do not get exposed to films such as this one and that is a shame. Indeed the Dogma movement is very different. It is certainly not Conventional Hollywood Cinema and that is part of the reason it is so much fun to watch. People shold see this movie, inparticular fans of character driven plots and people who are not affraid to squirm.
Festen, a Danish film with very independent-style cinema is set at the summer villa of a true Danish Tycoon that likes to party with his equally rich and racist friends. But this celebration is different. This time it is old Papa's 60th Birthday, and all of his troubled children are coming to their childhood home for the occassion, in the wake of their Sister's suicide. Everything goes swell, we are hinted of some trouble, in a brilliant little pre-climactic series of scenes, but it is mostly smooth sailing until their quiet, deeply depressed eldest son, Christian, drops the bomb in a speech that is disguised as a toast to his father. Daddy has been a little deviant with his kids in the past, Christian says in his toast. It is not taken seriously by the aristocrats at first, but the rest of the film is focused around everyone trying to shut him up and cover up the truth, but Christian keeps on disrupting the increasingly shaky celebration, until his enraged, psychotic brother ties him to a tree, in the depths of their estate. Christian escapes, and retrieves a suicide note written by his sister explaining the whole abusive mess of their childhood. It is read at the table, in front of everyone, by his sister.
The Celebration(Festen) is incredible for what shows on your screen. It is not a Bible. It is just a quirky, however brilliant, little film by a master director. It is a simple thing, one flavour, and it should not be so over-interpreted. It is an artful, suprising film that you will enjoy thoroughly.
Most recent customer reviews
Great lighting. A movie as quick as lightening. Portrays more than just what I see, but does exactly the opposite, like the cinematography or cinematographer don't and doesn't get... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This film is one of the most powerful I have seen dealing with the topic of incest and sexual abuse. Read morePublished on July 10 2009 by Cheryl Fenton
Thomas Vinterberg's "The Celebration" examines what happens when the unease typically in the air at a family gathering transforms into horror upon the revelation of a dark family... Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by Steven Y.
I saw this film by accident...sitting in my hotel room, reviewing the notes from the class I had just taken, I flipped thru channels on the TV to find the right background... Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2004
Thomas Vinterberg's "The Celebration" examines what happens when the unease typically in the air at a family gathering transforms into horror upon the revelation of a dark family... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004 by Steven Y.
Vinterberg succeeds in bringing this psycho drama to the screen and conveying a certain justice to all abused children of this world. Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2001 by nathalie belanger
This is an excellent film addressing insest issues in a disyfunctional family. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.Published on July 11 2001
I'll conclude early on: This movie is GOOD. VERY VERY GOOD.
Now that I've come to THAT conclusion, let me begin with the fact that I was rather hesitant on seeing a... Read more