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The Celebration (1998)

Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Ulrich Thomsen, Henning Moritzen, more...
Director: Thomas Vinterberg, Thomas Vinterberg
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Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Foreign, Scandinavia
Running Time: 106 min.
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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This Danish comedy drama won the Jury Prize at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. It opens in rural Denmark as family members assemble for the 60th birthday celebration of patriarch Helge (Henning Moritzen). At the family estate are Helge's children: France-based restaurateur Christian (Ulrich Thomsen), whose twin sister killed herself; surviving sister Helene (Paprika Steen); and younger brother Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen), married with three children. At the birthday dinner, the bitter Christian stands to deliver a toast -- but instead makes a startling speech accusing Helge of sexual abuse involving both twins. Following principles outlined in 1995 by Danish fimmakers in their Dogme 95 proclamation, this film adheres to their manifesto guidelines of handheld cameras, direct sound, location filming, and the elimination of technical tricks. ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The family reunion from hell by MKaliher June 22, 2008 - 3:04 AM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
In this distinctly Danish production, the supposedly beloved Patriarch of an elite family throws himself a birthday party on his palatial estate, only to find that his children--two of whom he sexually abused when they were young--have a surprise in store for him: they out him as a serial child rapist. While the Dogme 95 camerawork does take a little getting used to, it is well worth the effort. This film is full of jabs at the fatuous, pompous rituals of such parties and people, and is brilliantly executed. But its overtones go far beyond sexual abuse, to explore the many ways parents torture their offspring, from physical and psychological abuse to simple attitudes like You're not good enough to be my child, What's wrong with you?, or You're crazy. The perp eventually gets his social comeuppance, but will probably live long enough to consider what a scumbag he is--and, of course, he won't be getting any more visits from the grandkids.

I'll drink to that! by GGoodsell December 25, 2005 - 8:45 AM PST
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Members of a large family gather for their patriarch's sixtieth birthday party. The clan's wayward son lets slip during a testimonial that he and his sister, who recently committed suicide were repeatedly molested by dad when they were children. Everyone around them tries desperately to gloss over this revelation by proceeding with the festivities. At one point, they break into a virulently racist folk song to offend the black American boyfriend of one of the daughters. THE CELEBRATION is at times very funny and very painful. It's heartening to see that more films are tackling the previously taboo topic of child molestation. HAPPINESS and MYSTERIOUS SKIN are two other films which address this pressing issue, something that desperately needs wider acknowledgement.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.65)
174 Votes
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