Watch This ! Festen (1998)

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. OK. Bye.

Ok, for most people Dogme 95 seemed really pretentious and obscure; Von Trier’s and Vinterberg’s manifesto and … Vow of Chastity (Dear God ..) did bring about with it a (at least one) pearl, a magnificient piece of filmmaking in the form of Vinterberg’s Festen (The Celebration).

Following the Dogme rules (sourced at Wikipedia)

1.Filming 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 within the scene being filmed, i.e., diegetic.
3.The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.
4.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).
5.Optical work and filters are forbidden.
6.The film must not contain superficial action (murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
7.Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden (that is to say that the film takes place here and now).
8.Genre movies are not acceptable.
9.The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
10.The director must not be credited.

Festen brings us technical mastery wrapped in a heartfelt, heartwrenching and comedic result. What’s not to like eyh?


9 responses to “Watch This ! Festen (1998)

  1. Oh! This is a film that I have wanted to watch for a long time! Hmmh..maybe I’ll find the DVD somewhere :) Thanks for reminding that this film exists! (and that I have not yet watched it ;))

  2. I haven’t wached it either, probably I should. If I have to watch this then you should definitely watch Mifune. It’s also a Dogma-movie but I can use the same words to describe it as you have used with Festen. It’s a true gem!

  3. I love this movie, insofar as one can love a movie with such brutal subject matter. It also was the first step towards my becoming a fan of Paprika Steen.

  4. I love it, love it, love it! Each time Christian stands up to do a speech and taps his fork on the glass I get so excited. Probably the best film about a dysfunctional family ever made.

  5. I watched it very recently and it pretty much blew me away. It’s Brutal, just brutal. And yes, dogma style helps it a great deal.

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