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FESTEN: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In the Danish summer guests arrive at a magnificent old hotel for the 60th birthday celebration of Helge Klingenfeldt (Henning Moritzen). Present are his loyal wife Elsa (Birthe Neumann), daughter Helene (Paprika Steen) and sons Christian (Ulrich Thomsen) and Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen), who arrives uninvited after failing to attend the funeral of Christian's twin, Linda, who committed suicide. As the evening progresses, Christian feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a dark family secret. The effect is explosive and sets the tone for a 'celebration' no-one will forget.

Review by Richard Kuipers:
Released for the first time in Australia on DVD, Festen is acknowledged as the most accessible film from the Dogme 95 school.

Thomas Vinterberg, 28 years old when he directed Festen, has stated that his objective is to "force truth out of his characters by all means available and at the cost of any good taste and aesthetic considerations". He's kept his word with this harrowing, funny, shocking and immensely moving account of a party gone horribly wrong. At least for some members of this dysfunctional family.

But the cathartic experience also provides glimmers of hope for other members whose lives have been profoundly damaged. Unlike the repulsive Lars Von Trier film The Idiots, Vinterberg has a real story to tell and attacks it with intelligence. His subject matter is humanity stripped raw, fed to itself and spat out like broken glass. It is ideally suited to the Dogma manifesto and as captured documentary-style on video cameras and blown up to grainy 35mm film the impact is even more chilling as the veneer of middle-class respectability disintegrates.

Lightening the somber mood are some short jabs of humour and a supernatural aura surrounding the recently deceased Linda whose spiritual presence plays a major role. "There have always been ghosts in this house" observes Helene. She's right and not all of them are dead either. For escapism look elsewhere; for compelling and truthful human drama start right here.

Published January 11, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

FESTEN: DVD (MA15+)
(Denmark/Sweden, 1998)

The Celebration

CAST: Ulrich Thomsen, Henning Moritzen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Paprika Steen

PRODUCER: Birgitte Hald

DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg

SCRIPT: Thomas Vinterberg, Mogens Rukov

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony Dod Mantle

EDITOR: Valdís Óskarsdóttir

MUSIC: Lars Bo Jensen

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Not credited

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 16: 9

SPECIAL FEATURES: .

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Shock

DVD RELEASE: January 12, 2008







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