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The Celebration (1998)
"Festen" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  19 June 1998 (Denmark)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 52,921 users  
Reviews: 249 user | 92 critic

At Helge's 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Celebration (1998)

The Celebration (1998) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Top 250 #226 | Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 28 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Christian
...
Faderen - Helge
...
Michael
...
Helene
Birthe Neumann ...
Moderen - Else
...
Pia
Helle Dolleris ...
Mette
Therese Glahn ...
Michelle
Klaus Bondam ...
Toastmasteren - Master of Ceremonies
Bjarne Henriksen ...
Kokken - Kim
Gbatokai Dakinah ...
Gbatokai
Lasse Lunderskov ...
Onklen - Uncle
...
Receptionisten - Receptionist
Lene Laub Oksen ...
Søsteren - Sister
Linda Laursen ...
Birthe
Edit

Storyline

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 arguments. 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 Jonas L.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every family has a secret. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and language, including references to sexual abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 June 1998 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

The Celebration  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$27,621 (USA) (9 October 1998)

Gross:

$647,523 (Norway) (26 March 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Thomas Vinterberg:  The taxi driver dropping off Helene's boyfriend, Gbatokai See more »

Goofs

The song ("I have seen a real negro man") Michael starts after a confrontation with Gbatokai, is in fact not, as Helene claims, racist. The song, originating in the early 1970s, are using words that, at the time, was not politically incorrect, which is part of the reason many people falsely believe it to be racist. Another reason for this miscomprehension comes when the final verse is left out. This verse explains how all people should be painted blue, both because people would be more funny to look at, but also because "Then black and red and yellow and white could live together in a world without strife". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[subtitled version]
Christian Klingenfeldt: [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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Bogart - As Time Goes By (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

I Skovens dybe stille ro
By Fritz Andersen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Provocative dialogue ensures rapt attention
20 March 2003 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Vinterberg's "Festen" which follows the strict guidelines of Dogma 95 could perhaps be hampered in its artistic approach, but not so here. Indeed with the hand-held camera the reality of the scene is intensified to such an extent one feels an integral part of the drama.

It's a family celebration of father Helge's 60th birthday. It's strange though that all the guests seem to arrive at the same time, speeding up the driveway in great excitement. There is lots of noise. hugs and kisses and the camera intruding in a mischievous way.

This family has some terrible dark secrets known to some, not to all. They are divulged by the eldest son Christian (Ulrich Thomson) in his dinner speech toasting his father. This is a wonderful scene, tense, sharp, riveting. The guests are shaken to the core. Is he telling the truth or is he having a wicked game with the assembled company? It's great stuff - really compelling drama.

The history of the family can be pieced together from information revealed in a series of toasts, but Christian's contribution renders the party speechless. It's a fairly noisy film with lots of people talking together, having arguments (Christian's brother Michael {Thomas Bo} has an uncontrollable temper) or screaming in frustration. These out bursts contrast so well with the scenes of stunned silence. They are quite electrifying moments - no words are necessary.

Films like this one make movie-watching well worthwhile. No wonder it won a Jury Prize.


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