Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Runtime: 105 minutes
Starring: Ulrich Thomsen, Henning Moritzen, Paprika Steen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Birthe Neumann, Trine Dyrholm, Helle Dolleris, Therese Glahn, Klaus Bondam, Bkarne Henriksen, Gbatokai Dakinah, Lasse Lunderskov, Lars Brygmann, Lene Laub Oksen, Linda Laursen
Description: At Helge's 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.
Review: “Festen” is a family drama, the first Dogme 95 film. It’s a realistic film.
The successful businessman Helge Klingenfeldt-Hansen turns 60 and throws a big party for his family and friends in his hotel. The suicide of one of his daughters not long ago shouldn’t spoil their party. But from the moment Helge’s son starts his speech, the party turns into a family drama.
When Thomas Vinterberg, with the help of Lars von Trier, started making “Festen”, it had to be as pure as possible: no special lighting, no props, no additional music, handheld camera. Not your typical Hollywood film and that’s what they were going for. This makes this movie unique and realistic.
The film is very sober and you’re constantly focused on the leading characters. The aggressive son, the sanctimonious mother, the insecure daughter and the racism driven guests. The family drama gets worse and worse. “Festen” shows us how ugly and bad people can be.
The scene where son Christian speeches is most memorable and confronting. But overall the movie disappointed me a little bit. It wasn’t as shocking as I thought it would be and I didn’t understand why all those people stayed at the party or why the children would go in the first place.
“Jagten”, a movie that Thomas Vinterberg made years later, made a bigger impression on me. “Festen” sadly didn’t, and I really wanted to love this movie too.
Rating: 3/ 5