Sunday, October 01, 2006

PeaceBang Reviews "Festen"

I watched Thomas Vinterburg's 1998 film "Festen" ("The Celebration") the other night and highly recommend it. It is a Dogme style work like Lars Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves" (brilliant! 4 stars! Just don't plan to leave the couch for like an hour afterwards!), and it packs a similar punch.

The premise is the gathering of a family for the patriarch's 60th birthday, and beyond that I can't say too much or I'll be spilling some major beans.

All I can say is, if you're interested in an emotionally moving depiction of the depth of family dysfunction with a big side order of pathological denial, you must see this film. I found it helpful to a situation I am facing now in the pastoral ministry.

Stars Ulrich Thomsen and Paprika Steen are beautiful and heartbreaking as totally damaged siblings.

It's all hand-held camera, so you may need to take a Dramamine first. I myself was fine, and I usually get woozy watching this sort of thing.


Blogger Mystical Seeker said...

If I am not mistaken, Festen was the first official Dogme movie (Breaking the Waves was technically not a Dogme movie--von Trier's movie The Idiots, which I hated, was his first movie under the official Dogme banner), and in my opinion Festen still remains the best of them all. It is incredibly, emotionally powerful and moving. I concur with your recommendation.

There is another Danish Dogme movie called Forbrydelser that has a strongly religious theme that I would recommend. It is a story of a female priest who becomes a chaplain at a woman's prison and who is confronted with the possibility of miracles being performed by one of the inmates. The IMDB page for the movie is


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