Festen (1998)

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Avg Rating: 4.4 / 5. Voted: 69

No one cared thus far. Do you?

AKA: The Celebration
Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Ulrich Thomsen (Christian), Henning Moritzen (Father), Birthe Neumann (Mother), Paprika Steen (Helene), Thomas Bo Larsen (Michael), Bjarne Henriksen (Chef), Trine Dyrholm (Waitress)
Country: Denmark, Scandinavian Cinema, European Cinema
Language: Danish (English Subtitles)
Runtime: 01:40:48
Genres: Old-Young Relationships, Siblings-Family, Incest, Domestic Abuse

Plot – Spoilers:
The wealthy, respected and powerful head of a family is celebrating his 60th birthday. The festivities are at his sprawling hotel in the countryside and invitees include family-friends and relatives and his two sons and daughter. The eldest son Christian has a restaurant in Paris while his sister Helene is a singer with a dubious career. The youngest Michael has degenerated into trash in his father’s eyes – and his sole claim to fame is that he’s the only one with kids.

A pall of gloom is discernible owing to the suicide of Christian’s twin sister who recently killed herself in the hotel. But everyone seems eager to brush it aside and engage in a weekend of revelry. Christian however has something he needs to talk about and uses the occasion of a toast to shock everyone.

Festen is a beautiful take on family secrets, and how family and friends would often prefer to hush things up, if the other available option is dealing with extreme discomfort.

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Emil A.
Emil A.
December 2, 2023 1:18 am

Their alive sister’s bf most likely think that’s some WPS (White people sh***) of a family this is and what the actual hell he got into..Poor boy…LOOOOL…..πŸ™„πŸ˜¨..πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Emil A.
Emil A.
Reply to  Emil A.
December 2, 2023 1:50 am

…Like why he didn’t left after..you know..had me wondering alot???Like what boyyy??Why you still there…Geez..lol..He’s killing them with kindness,I suppose..Pretty pretty looking as well(Wonder how he looks today.The actor himself)..Now poor girl,too…She might – hypothetically – leave for Copenhagen with him and live way more modest,low-key,,,and just happier as well….πŸ™„πŸ˜‘πŸ‘

Anyways,that’s a Danish psychological drama for you at its best,I suppose πŸ˜¬πŸ™ƒπŸ˜‰πŸ‘Œ

Historian
Historian
October 30, 2023 12:45 am

This reminded me of the Trump family.There were so many parallels – Trumps Sons and Ivanka for whom Trump has aired his views in a sexually suggestive manner. The wealth and the arrogance tinged with white supremacy.

Icelandic student
Icelandic student
December 9, 2022 8:48 pm

The movie is hard to tackle I do not recomend to peaple that canΒ΄t take so hard material
I could only watch 30 minutes of the movie. Only reason why watched was couse it was for my 10th grade asigment.

3Niar3
3Niar3
July 3, 2022 8:14 pm

What a masterpiece and Linda’s truly beautiful, I felt genuinely sorry for her, such a pure and gentle sweetheart. That’s the kind of woman that I would marry no matter what

NumbnutsNZ
NumbnutsNZ
February 20, 2022 6:47 am

Very good movie.

David
David
February 17, 2022 8:45 am

Very good. Sad but good. I wonder how many people have Ben affected this way and have had the courage to speak out.

jen snaiws
jen snaiws
January 12, 2022 6:56 am

the succession from the darkverse (i’m aware this was a big inspiration)
10/10, hit me way harder than i expected

Childfree bourgeoisi
Childfree bourgeoisi
December 2, 2021 6:47 pm

That loser Christian is pathetic af having kids is no accomplishment nor an ambition it’s a biological function the majority of are capable of lmao it’s nowhere near being becoming a doctor or an engineer or owning a successful business cause that actually takes intelligence and hard work

Jayme
Jayme
Reply to  Childfree bourgeoisi
November 17, 2023 11:17 pm

You’re an idiot. When a sentence begins with “… only claim to fame..” when describing someone, it’s usually a putdown. Which it was.

Edit. You didn’t watch the movie, did you?

Alice
Alice
November 25, 2021 11:25 am

I’m grateful for this site. Thank you for always uploading thought-provoking films no matter how dark, misunderstood and bizarre. Love y’all, stay alive !

Kahn VI
Kahn VI
October 4, 2021 6:42 pm

Fucking awesome movie totally delicious movie that fucking awesome song really gave me a break beautiful movie

Kahn V
Kahn V
May 31, 2021 6:29 am

Fucking racist movie totally shit movie that fucking racist song really gave me a break shit movie

Lina
Lina
Reply to  Kahn V
March 21, 2022 6:11 pm

I think you’ll see that the movie itself is aware that the song is racist, and the scene is actually used to show exactly how corrupted these peoples minds are, how blind they are to morale in the face of trying to appear superficially good.

Charley m
Charley m
Reply to  Kahn V
June 1, 2022 4:40 am

Good point on the racist crap, I think when they do movies or docs on nazis or the klan etc etc they need to take out all the racist crap, gets a bit much, that way if we hide it , no more.
Fucking shoot me or these precious fuckwits , FREEDOM OF SPEECH, I hate you dogooders, but too bad , that’s life , shut the fuck up and die quietly

whirlwind of disgust
whirlwind of disgust
March 25, 2021 11:01 pm

gross, over the top!
the old man said when asked why he do it:
that’s all you were good for!

man from dk
man from dk
February 9, 2021 9:56 pm

well thats denmark for ya …

NumbnutsNZ
NumbnutsNZ
Reply to  man from dk
February 20, 2022 6:49 am

And may Denmark continue to put out superb movies. There’s more to Scandinavia than Sweden.

David John
David John
December 9, 2020 6:03 am

I have been watching a number of movies on this site over the past 6 months or so. None has been as compelling and poignant as Festen. I could actually feel the emotion of the characters. A wonderful viewing experience.

duh
duh
November 26, 2020 12:09 am

possibly the greatest film i’ve ever seen. bleak, grim, beautiful.

Captain Jack
Captain Jack
April 1, 2020 10:26 am

Trine is so fucking hot. I dream fucking her pink asshole all day long.

Seventh Devil
Seventh Devil
Reply to  Captain Jack
November 8, 2020 6:44 am

Best comment on this site this far XD

gorewhore
gorewhore
Reply to  Captain Jack
November 24, 2020 9:07 am

men should be put down

bigdyke
bigdyke
Reply to  gorewhore
February 9, 2021 8:10 am

agree

ragnar92
ragnar92
Reply to  bigdyke
December 29, 2021 1:57 pm

With a name like bigdyke of course you’d agree with that statement lmao.

Icelandic student
Icelandic student
Reply to  gorewhore
December 9, 2022 8:49 pm

shut up not all men just bad people

Chad goth
Chad goth
Reply to  Captain Jack
January 10, 2021 12:10 am

Get a life you fucking loser

goldrake
goldrake
Reply to  Captain Jack
May 16, 2023 4:10 am

totally agree

philipmodest
philipmodest
March 21, 2020 6:55 pm

I saw this film in a German cinema just after its release. At the time, the use of a hand-held, video-type camera was entirely new and it created an unprecedented feeling of intimacy. Indeed, I remember feeling embarrassed when Christian started his speech as if I were taking part in the proceedings and I had just realized what was about to happen. I feel a lot of what makes the film so powerful was actually due to the decisions made off-camera. For example, it would have been easy to have afforded Christian’s character more authority and a sense of triumphalism, but it is the combination of stoicism, bravery and vulnerability that makes the character so compelling. The father figure is even more refined, in my opinion, and it is the brilliance of Henning Moritzen, who played the character, that we are inclined to feel slightly embarrassed at feeling some compassion towards him in the end.

Of course, the theme of the hushed-up transgressions of a family patriarch, whose power was absolute and incontestable, was one that found resonance with a good deal of people from my generation and I’m sure it was an almost painful cinematic experience for many of us.

This film should be near the top of any greatest film list. It is as profound as a Dostoyevsky novel and played with formiddable taste and skill.

David
David
November 23, 2019 6:14 pm

I’ve seen this movie a few times, absolute classic. It was the first Dogme 95 film (its full title in Denmark is Dogme #1 – Festen). Dogme films are governed by a manifesto that insists on specific rules, which are
1. Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).

2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot.)

3. The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted.
The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera.)

4. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)

5.Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)

6. Genre movies are not acceptable.

7. The film format must be Academy 35 mm.

8. The director must not be credited.

So it creates a very pure film, just reliant on a great performances and story. And this movie is a great example…

David
David
November 23, 2019 5:58 pm

This site just gets better and better. This is an awesome movie..