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, European Cinema
Language: Danish (English Subtitles)
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.