Celebration, The (1998) A
This intense and riveting Danish family drama, remarkably directed by Thomas Vinterberg, won the Jury Prize at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
The tale begins in rural Denmark as family members assemble at a hotel owned by them for the 60th birthday celebration of the feared and awed patriarch Helge Kingenfelt (Henning Moritzen).
At the family estate are Helge’s children: France-based cynical restaurateur Christian (Ulrich Thomsen), whose twin sister had killed herself; the surviving sister Helene (Paprika Steen) and her African-American boyfriend; and younger, wilder brother Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen), who’s now married with three children.
At the birthday dinner, the bitter Christian stands to deliver a toast, but instead makes a startling speech, dropping a bombshell, accusing the esteemed and seemingly jolly Helge of longtime sexual abuse involving both twins.
It’s the first film following the strict principles outlined in 1995 by Danish fimmakers (ncluding Lars Von Trier) in their Dogme 95 proclamation—technical austerity, natural lighting.
“The Celebration” adheres to their manifesto guidelines of handheld cameras, direct sound, location shooting, and the elimination of technical tricks through editing.
Running time: 105 Minutes.
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg.
Written by Thomas Vinterberg, Mogens Rukov.
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