- Actors: Ulrich Thomsen, Henning Moritzen, Thomas Bo Larsen
- Directors: Thomas Vinterberg
- Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen, Dolby, Digital Sound
- Language: Danish
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Metrodome Video
- DVD Release Date: 13 Oct. 2008
- Run Time: 100 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B001CD3P9C
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,222 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Festen (10th Year Anniversary Edition) [DVD] 
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Danish drama co-written and directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Wealthy businessman Helge Klingenfeldt (Henning Moritzen) and his wife Else (Birthe Neumann) throw a family party to celebrate his 60th birthday. Eldest son Christian (Ulrich Thomsen) and daughter Helene (Paprika Steen) arrive, as does reckless younger son Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen) - in disgrace through his failure to attend his sister Linda's funeral months earlier. Maids Pia (Trine Dyrholm) and Michelle (Therese Glahn) both hope to rekindle their old affairs with the two brothers, but their efforts prove to be in vain. At dinner, Christian announces that both he and the late Linda were sexually abused by Helge when they were children, but is not believed. However, while searching Linda's old room Helene discovers a suicide note from her sister which forces her to reconsider.
Rising to the challenge of Dogma 95's self-imposed restrictions on aesthetic freedom, Thomas Vinterberg's Festen is a remarkable example of the way limits can give rise to creative opportunity. (Dogma 95 is a vow of chastity sworn originally by a group of Danish film-makers, which also includes Lars von Trier, director of Breaking the Waves. The group's manifesto in which its members vow to eschew special lighting, optical effects, props and the visible imprint of a director's personality in order to attain higher truths yielded by characters.) Festen, shot with a small video camera and transferred to 35mm film, concerns a black-tie birthday gathering for a family patriarch, Helge (Henning Moritzen), which erodes into a battle after long-suppressed secrets are revealed and the chance to settle old scores presents itself. Among the grievances are an accusation of incest and the responsibility for the death of a child--gruesome stuff, but Vinterberg doesn't characterise the partying crowd's reaction in quite the way one might have expected. In fact, the whole of Festen is about unexpected perspectives and vantage points emerging from out of nowhere, largely due to Vinterberg's free hand at editing the film in such a way as to yank truth from every corner. This is a strong work that belies scepticism over Dogma 95's bare-bones trendiness, and is perhaps a harbinger of great work to come from Vinterberg. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
During a Danish summer, Daddy (Henning Moritzen) is having his sixtieth birthday, and all the family have driven or flown back to the family mansion to celebrate. His children appear a touch unhappy, and one of their siblings have recently committed suicide. As the drinks flow tongues begin to wag.
Festen was the first Dogme 95 film. Simply put, Dogme 95 was a manifesto created by Lars von Trier and Vinterberg. They set out to give back the power to the director and not the studio. Their basic rules for creating a film were: shooting must be done on location, the camera must be handheld, optical work and filters are forbidden, plus several others. These rules all appear in Vinterberg’s film. And whether you buy into the Dogme 95 manifesto or not, I felt I had a heightened experience because of it.
The first thing to mention about this film is Anthony Dod Mantle’s innovative cinematography. It’s digital, blocky and feels just like you’re watching a video from a party you attended in the nineties. Another rule of Dogme 95 is: special lighting is not acceptable. Mantle has captured the light just right, again giving the film that non-studio look. Vinterberg’s and Mogens Rukov’s script is the cherry on the wonderful cake: it’s acidic, tight and holds no punches. In 2004 David Eldridge adapted it into a brilliant play. And finally the directing to the not credited Vinterberg: to kick off a manifesto with such ballsy brilliance is just shy of a masterpiece. There must have been something so liberating when directing this, as that freedom seeps out the screen. So bravo to the director.
Festen is a superb piece of filmmaking and I really enjoyed watching it. It breaks the rules and tells you about it, but most importantly it concentrates on telling a compelling story.
The shock factor comes through the layers of social responses and maintenance of the 'correct temporal order' and the increasingly strained social façade of the dinner party which stumbles along despite revelations. Tense and gripping.
This reminds me why I prefer foreign films.
I dare to say it's a masterpiece.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The film is too good to be true. My brother and I watched it together. The end of the film is still a long way from my perfect ending. If I had, I must find someone like the hero. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Letitia
I am a fan of Scandinavian television and books so enjoying this great film is something that could be expected of me. Yet I feel that in my first comment I am underselling it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Raymond Walker
Don't bother, life is too short. Very confusingly filmed and never really connects with audience.Published 7 months ago by miss
From the start it captivated me with its realism and raw emotionPublished 14 months ago by Borislava Antova