Festen aka Celebration, written (with others) and directed by Thomas Vinterberg
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This is a winner of The Jury Prize of the Cannes Festival.
In my view, that cinema Festen or Celebration is the most prestigious and important recognition for a film.
The Oscars voters can and often do make mistakes.
I am not thrilled by this year's Moonlight.
Spotlight was a far less important achievement than the Russian masterpiece Leviathan aka Leviafan.
Toni Erdmann was many times better than Moonlight.
But these comparisons can continue forever.
And the winners are still those who produced interesting films, but on the level of some European or Asian Art works.
Festen is a brilliant execution.
For some reason execution came to mind, I rejected it first and then thought...
Well, it is in some ways an execution
A father figure, the image of a loving, successful father is destroyed.
Instead, there will be the image, the specter, ghost that would haunt the participants of this
Some will get over it quickly, for they have proved their worth.
Others will stay in denial.
But let's start at the beginning.
Christian is coming home, walking on this country road.
A car is driven by his brother, Michael.
The only actor that I know and have seen in other movies, including The Hunt, plays Michael.
He is Thomas Bo Larsen.
Michael is a very aggressive, obnoxious, despicable and hateful personage.
In the second scene, he already "re- accommodates" his family.
I used this in reference to the United Airlines incident which has recently caused such an uproar.
A doctor has been dragged from a plane of the company, injured and molested because he would not give up his place on the plane.
And he had every right to that seat...the CEO talked about re-accommodation.
Michael does about the same to his wife and small children.
Get off because I want to drive my brother.
I would say that Christian was in the wrong, since he should and could have said no, thank you.
They arrive at this huge property, where the father celebrates his sixtieth anniversary.
Many guests arrive and there are plenty of staff to attend to them
- "Every family has a secret"
This is the tagline of the film.
And the conflicts come to the surface really soon.
It is already clear that Michael is abusing his wife.
And she is not the only one to suffer the wrath and cruelty of this psychopath.
A young girl who is a waitress now, but had been close to both brothers is kicked and beaten by the Swedish descendant of de Sade.
And many, if not most of those attending have some serious problems and issues.
At least with alcohol.
Drinking too much would be the less incriminating accusation though.
When a man with a darker skin comes to the party, the brutal, heinous side of those partying is revealed.
First of all, Michael is again demonstrated how vile he is.
He rejects the man and tells him to go away, they need no musicians.
- But I am invited
- Get lost!
- I am on the guest list
- Go away!
Racist as he is, he associates dark skin with menial jobs.
This man cannot be a guest of his "superior" friends and relatives.
And at the table, he starts singing racist slurs.
And most of the guests join in.
The major conflict though is between Christian and the others.
He reveals a dark secret hidden by his father.
The suicide note written by his dead sister confirms his testimony.
I will say no more.