Dogme #1, The Celebration: A lavish 60th birthday party reveals some dark truths and well-kept family secrets. This is the first film created under the Dogme 95 manifesto – a set of 10 rules and limitations that directors Thomas Vinterberg and Lars Von Trier created in order to give more artistic power to the director and in protest against big-studio production. They focused on traditional values of story, acting, themes and plot and excluded the use of special effects, music, technology and non-location lighting.
The film was inspired by a true story that Vinterberg heard on a radio show. Themes include sexual abuse, grief, racism and guilt.
Festen is filmed entirely in standard Mini-DV format on a Sony Handycam consumer-grade camera.
The technological limitations in making the film further highlight the remarkable direction and great performances all around throughout the picture. It was produced with a modest budget of $1.3 million and received worldwide critical acclaim.
Festen Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Henning Moritzen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Paprika Steen, Birthe Neumann, Trine Dyrholm, Gbatokai Dakinah