All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
A Danish film produced in the Dogma style by Thomas Vinterberg that portrays a family having a party for their father when one son makes a toast speech that tells the truth about the murder of their eldest sister possibly involving the father.
”This family...is kaput.”
In the first film created under the rules of Dogme 95 manifesto, director Thomas Vinterberg addresses some serious and gut-wrenching issues and dares to ask some unnerving questions about the value and importance of truth and challenges some unchangeable facts like the integrity and holiness of family and shows us a disordered and problematic society which is suffering from melancholy and disruption. The biggest and most admirable achievement of Vinterberg is his ability in finding a balance between making a groundbreaking visual experience and at the same time telling a story in a classic way. Anthony Dod Mantle (the cinematographer of Rush, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours)does a brilliant job by inventing a mind-blowing and at times…
I've put off since last night trying to review this film, and I don't think I'm ready to write anything cohesent now either, but here goes.
"Festen" is an early Dogme '95 movie that actually excels from adhering to the strict rules. The shaky cam puts you right in the middle of the chaos, the restriced lighting has an equal effect in strengthening the feeling of losing control of the events. I've never been much of a fan of music setting the mood either, and in forbidding such effects "Festen" really gets under your skin, with awkward silences and not a drop of sound drowned out from a musical score. All…
When filming according to the Dogme 95 rules, it quickly becomes apparent that story and storytelling is everything.
The Celebration tells a terrible story, but one that is captivating in its brutal honesty. Once the setup is finished and the catalyst in the story is revealed, most films of this type fall flat. This, however, doesn't.
It is intent to wrench every ounce of grief, pain, anger and fear out of its characters and make us a participant of it. It is hard to love this film because of its subject matter, but it is easy to admire it because of the skill on display.
Because of the level of sobriety in terms of filmmaking there is hardly any static to keep us from being sucked into the horrible hornet's nest that is this family. And if you allow all this to happen it makes for a harrowing experience that cuts deep.
festen is the first film made in conjunction with the dogme '95 manifesto, which was composed by thomas vinterbeg (the director of festen), and lars von trier.
the restrictions of the manifesto mean that the driving forces behind a great dogme film will most likely be a simple but particularly engaging story, and excellently written characters played by excellent actors. festen surpasses expectation on each of these fronts. the cast, especially, consisting of some of denmark's best actors of recent years, has an extraordinary chemistry, as well as incredible individual performances from the four leads.
the film also highlights the tongue-in-cheek nature of the manifesto. as with other 'manifestos' published by lars von trier as prefaces to his earlier films,…
Part 23 of the 30 Countries project.
For the purposes of this project this movie is classed as at least partially being of Danish origin as per its listing on imdb.
It's fifteen years since I first heard of the Dogme '95 movement and ten years since I studied the first group of films and the two major players involved in drafting the manifesto, von Trier and Vinterberg, and yet somehow viewing Festen has eluded me until now.
Festen is quite clearly the best film made under the guidelines, not just for the visceral nature of the storytelling but the way Vinterberg made the obstructions, the restrictions, the vow of chastity work for his film. It seems like all other…
Vinterberg's subsequent career has been so meh-minus that I actively feared returning to this and discovering that it's actually mediocre. No worries. I'll be writing a lengthy essay for The Dissolve when we do this as Film Of The Week soon (edit: here it is), so for now here's what I wrote from NYFF '98, to which I'll add only that this is perhaps the best movie ever made about damage control.
Given the appalling, anything-goes direction in which the movies seem to be heading, with Hollywood relying on shallow spectacle and foreign/indie auteurs on callow shock tactics, it's both telling and ironic that the best film in NYFF '98—the only truly first-rate flick in the lineup, for…
The first, and many say best, film from the Dogme 95 movement is a compelling example of film experimentation gone right; almost as if it's the world's greatest home movie (even if that statement is horribly reductive). Starting out as a shambling, funny, frenetic comedy of errors, it evolves into so much more. Anybody can tackle old-school patriarchal family values and bourgeois hypocrisy (well, maybe not anybody, but you get the idea), few people can do it as deftly, and humanely, as Thomas Vinterberg does in The Celebration.
I still think The Hunt is both more emotional and more intense -- this one is essentially a well acted but very simple chamber piece that deftly but unexceptionally meets our expectations. Michael is horrible (I kind of hate him more than the dad), and I feel like Gbatokai was brought in merely to make Michael (and, really, the whole family aside from Helene and Christian) even more horrible, rather than because he contributes anything as a character. Also, The Hunt doesn't look like ass -- but, you know, Dogma (remember when that "movement" seemed culturally important? That was weird).
A Review Haiku
What a sad story.
But the real question remains:
Do we still get cake?
The cheapness and immediacy of the Dogme 95 movement are kind of a zero-sum game here. Odds are that this story could have worked as well or better were it shot on film in a more traditional manner, but it would also (likely) have lost some of the documentary-style realism that enlivens certain scenes. This may not have worked so well had this horribly personal story not been uniquely suited for Dogme's intimacy. Other films would probably butt more against the baggage of the Dogme style. That being said, though, the Dogme restrictions don't prevent Vinterberg from taking things OUT of the realm of realism and into more figurative territory.
Ultimately, though, it comes down to the story here, and…
A haunting movie. One that I’m still wrestling with. It rests in the midst of compelling and awkward, leaving me not entirely sure what to make of it. It certainly held my interest and left me grappling to form my opinion on it. I can’t decide if its complex and layered or just frustrating, but I’m leaning more toward the former. I admired Thomas Vinterberg’s ‘The Hunt’ which dealt with similar highly reactive accusations. The two movies feel coupled, and while I ultimately came out liking ‘The Hunt’ more, this is a wonderful companion piece.
Film #21 of 30 Days, 30 Countries Project: Denmark
This film is a searing examination of the way that social structures can come to accept and even institutionalize the presence of evil. Festen takes as its subject a familial social structure, but numerous references to Nazis indicate that its scope is actually far larger. There is a virtuoso scene in which one of the family members announces his claim, during a toast, in front of the whole family. He sits down. Someone starts to applaud out of reflex. There is silence. After an uncomfortable pause, another guest stands and tells an anecdote, as if nothing was wrong. Social structures are depicted as being very resilient things; even huge revelations have very little power to alter it.
Film #8 of May 30 Days, 30 Countries
Unfinished and unrated. Viewing was unfortunately affected by illness. Also this will certainly be the last Dogme 95 film I ever watch.
Thomas Vinterberg's second feature is the first film (and my introduction) to the Dogme 95 movement, and it's easy to see how the movement, and this film (perhaps indirectly), have influenced many independent filmmakers over the last sixteen years. Yet, I highly doubt most of those films could ever come close to topping the raw emotions, flawless filmmaking, and unsettling story at the core of Festen. While many on Letterboxd have seen the film already, it is important to go into the film with little to no details on the plot or story, so I will refrain from discussing the story in this entry. Suffice it to say that this is a film that is certainly worth seeking out, and one I hope to share with friends and discuss with others on here.
Part of the 30 Countries May Challenge. Denmark.
I read up on Dogme 95 afterwards, which frankly is kind of an insanely constricting set of rules that unsurprisingly sputters out in the end. Still, not hard to see why it sparks up for a while when its first film is of this high quality. The ultra-realistic nature of everything helps hide the eventual arc of the story, and that tonal shift in the first reveal is something else. The whole film may be the best argument for the rules; it is easy to think of how a conventional approach of this material might be: lurid, melodramatic, complete with string music for emotional cues. Instead, the home-video style, combined with tight…
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Rules of the Game
- Tokyo Story
Another year, another update. 2012 List can be found here.
The following is a really extensive and great list of…