The Celebration | Chicago Reader

The Celebration

On balance, Dogma 95 probably has more significance as a publicity stunt than as an ideological breakthrough, judging from the first two features to emerge under its ground rules, Lars von Trier's The Idiots and Thomas Vinterberg's The Celebration. Both films are apparent acts of rebellion and daring that are virtually defined by their middle-class assumptions and apoliticism. Von Trier's movie boasts one good scene surrounded by a lot of ersatz Cassavetes; Vinterberg's work, even more conventional in inspiration—think Ibsen, Strindberg, Bergman—is genuinely explosive because it's so powerfully executed. Shot with the smallest and lightest digital video camera available, The Celebration (1998) chronicles the acrimonious and violent family battles that ensue at a country manor where the 60th birthday of the family patriarch is being observed, not long after the eldest son's twin sister has committed suicide. In Danish with subtitles. 105 min.


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