A grand experiment that is a smashing success, The Celebration adheres to the principles of "Dogme 95," a collective of filmmakers who swear to adhere to certain rules in filmmaking: no studio shooting, location sound only, no music, hand-held camera only, natural light only, etc. The full manifesto has ten rules, none of which are commonly adhered to in Hollywood. It's a real surprise to see how magnificent these rules can be when put into the context of a good script and good acting.
But enough about the method. The story is one of a family unraveling during the celebration of the father's 60th birthday. As it turns out, dear old dad's done some pretty unspeakable things, and today is payback. Anyone who thinks they had it rough growing up needs to spend an hour or two with these Danes. Just about every skeleton that could be unearthed is unearthed -- to harrowing and darkly funny consequences.
I won't spoil the rest for you, but The Celebration remains the best foreign film of the year. This one is promised to keep you up late thinking about its creeptastic plot.
The Celebration is film #1 in the Dogme canon, and it still stands as the absolute best Dogme film ever made. Even if the grainy shaky-cam approach doesn't normally thrill you, film fans owe it to themselves to check out The Celebration.
Run time: 105 mins
In Theaters: Friday 19th June 1998
Distributed by: October Films
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 36 Rotten: 3
IMDB: 8.1 / 10
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Producer: Birgitte Hald
Screenwriter: Thomas Vinterberg