8.0/10
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265 user 109 critic

The Celebration (1998)

Festen (original title)
R | | Drama | 19 June 1998 (Denmark)
Trailer
1:00 | Trailer
At Helge's 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.

Director:

Thomas Vinterberg (uncredited)

Writers:

Thomas Vinterberg (screenplay), Mogens Rukov (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 28 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ulrich Thomsen ... Christian
Henning Moritzen ... Faderen - Helge Klingenfeld
Thomas Bo Larsen ... Michael
Paprika Steen ... Helene
Birthe Neumann Birthe Neumann ... Moderen - Else Klingenfeld
Trine Dyrholm ... Pia
Helle Dolleris Helle Dolleris ... Mette
Therese Glahn Therese Glahn ... Michelle
Klaus Bondam Klaus Bondam ... Toastmasteren - Master of Ceremonies
Bjarne Henriksen ... Kokken - Kim
Gbatokai Dakinah Gbatokai Dakinah ... Gbatokai
Lasse Lunderskov Lasse Lunderskov ... Onklen - Uncle
Lars Brygmann ... Receptionisten - Receptionist
Lene Laub Oksen Lene Laub Oksen ... Søsteren - Sister
Linda Laursen Linda Laursen ... Birthe
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Storyline

The Father turns 60. His family, which is a big one of the kind, gathers to celebrate him on a castle. Everybody likes and respects the father deeply...or do they? The youngest son is trying to live up to the father's expectations. He is running a grill-bar in a dirty part of Copenhagen. The oldest son runs a restaurant in France, while the sister is a anthropologist. The older sister has recently committed suicide and the father asks the oldest son to say a few words about her, because he is afraid he will break into tears if he does it himself. The oldest son agrees without argument. Actually he has already written two speeches. A yellow and a green one. By the table, he asks the father to pick a speech. The father chooses green. The oldest son announces that this is the Speech of Truth. Everybody laughs, except for the father who gets a nervous look on his face. For he knows that the oldest son is about to reveal the secret of why the oldest sister killed herself. Written by Jonas L.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Alle familier har en hemmelighed See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and language, including references to sexual abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Denmark | Sweden

Language:

Danish | German | English

Release Date:

19 June 1998 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Celebration See more »

Filming Locations:

Sjælland, Denmark See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,656,223

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,656,223
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was declared to be the worst-dubbed movie released in 1999, in Germany. See more »

Goofs

As the guests dance through the house, a boom mic can clearly be seen in the bottom left corner of the screen as they enter one of the rooms. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[subtitled version]
Christian Klingenfeldt: [on his cellphone] Christian speaking... Hi, I'm here now. I landed this morning. What? Er... Washed? I shaved at the airport if you must know. I shaved at the airport if you must know! I'm fine... right now I'm looking across the fields. At the land of my father. It's beautiful. It makes me want to move back for good, but that'd be problematical. I'll make it. Yes, I suppose it will be... shocking. What?... You're dropping out. O.K. Bye.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD also contains an alternative ending. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Storytelling (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Brudevalsen
By Niels W. Gade
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A knockout!
12 May 2006 | by teichinriSee all my reviews

So many critics seem to have missed the point of "The Celebration," which is almost unbelievable because it actually does have a point, and I feel like I got it between the eyes with a sledgehammer. This is a movie about, among other things, the power of social conventions, how we depend on them to deal with unpleasantness, and just how stubborn and difficult they can be to circumvent, even when your life depends on it.

What knocks me out is how much I'm convinced by the whole thing. Every sad detail makes perfect sense. There is so much wisdom here that it never overreaches, no matter how deep in the storytellers get.

In particular, the medium of digital video is used in an outstanding way that adds authenticity to the experience. Think about it- most of the hand-held video work we've seen is of our own family events. When we watch the only scene in which Christian weeps, with Gbatokai leaning over and giving moral support, it could almost pass for a candid moment in a homemade documentary.

I've seen a lot of good family dramas, but rarely have I had such an urge to hug the main character and unleash profanity at several of the others.


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