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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 56,824 users  
Reviews: 253 user | 98 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)

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Top 250 #238 | Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 31 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
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 | Plot 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:

 »
Edit

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 "confessed" to having covered a window during the shooting of one scene, which is a breaking of two Dogme rules - no bringing props onto the set, and no use of special lighting. See more »

Goofs

The sister takes the sheet from one of the chairs twice as she uncovers the furniture. 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

Referenced in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2011 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Brudevalsen
By Niels W. Gade
See more »

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User Reviews

There's Something Rotten in the State of Denmark...
26 July 2006 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

"Festen" aka "The Celebration" was the impressive directorial debut of the young Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg ("It's All About Love", "Dear Wendy"), and the first film made according to the rules of the daring Dogme 95 movement. It shows that you don't need big budgets to make a great film. However, Dogme wouldn't work if its films weren't as daring as its ideals of film-making - and "Festen" proved that those guys really have much to say.

"Festen" is an extremely cruel film, and it's somewhat uneasy to watch in some moments. The celebration of the title refers to the 60th birthday of Helge Klingenfeldt-Hansen (Henning Moritzen), who entertains his big family in his castle. But Helge's son, Christian (Ulrich Thomsen, excellent), whose twin sister recently committed suicide, has an important revelation that will surprise - and displease

  • many people; in the meantime, other secrets are revealed and nobody


will get away clean. "Festen" deserved all praise/awards it got in international festivals (it won the Jury Prize at Cannes 98) and is a great introduction to Danish cinema. My vote is 10/10.


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