DOGME 1 - FESTEN/THE CELEBRATION (1998, Denmark, 105 min.), directed by Thomas Vinterberg (uncredited); screenplay by Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov; cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle; edited by Valdis Oskarsdóttir; with Ulrich Thomsen (Christian), Henning Moritzen (Helge, the Father), Thomas Bo Larsen (Michael), Paprika Steen (Helene), Birthe Neumann (Mother), Trine Dyrholm (Pia), Helle Dolleris (Mette), Bjarne Henriksen (Chef), Gbatokai Dakinah (Gbatokai), Therese Glahn (Michelle), Klaus Bondam (Toastmaster). In Danish with English subtitles.
Please jot down answers to the following questions, and answer three in depth.
1. Discuss the film’s title. Discuss “the celebration.” What is being celebrated? What are we to feel about “the celebration”? Is there more than one celebration going on?
2. Discuss the setting of the film.
3. Discuss the three siblings--Christian, Helene, and Michael. What are the scars and weaknesses that each carries? How does each respond to the challenges of “the celebration?
4. Discuss the father. Trace the way your feelings about him develop over the course of the film. How does he use, abuse, and maintain his power?
5. What is the mother’s role in the family?
6. Vinterberg said the following about The Celebration in a 1998 interview with Cineaste magazine: “I've always wanted to do a family film. To me, this story is quite traditional. Maybe it's done in a very modern way, but you can see similarities to Hamlet and Oedipus. This kind of structure is almost automatically dramatic, because it's the one institution in your life that you haven't chosen yourself and that you can't escape from. You can't say no to it. So, of course, it's an obvious frame for a dramatic film.” What does the film have to say about family life?
7. Although it has a casual, spontaneous, documentary feel, The Celebration is in fact a very carefully written film. What are some examples of ways in which information is revealed to the viewer gradually and indirectly?
8. You’ll notice immediately the unique style of cinematography here, the use of the hand-held camera that is part of the Dogma 95 ethos. Why is the use of this camera technique particularly appropriate for this film?
9. What is the role played by Gbatokai, Helene’s American boyfriend? Why is he in this film?
10. Discuss the film’s conclusion. Do we have resolution at the end?
11. Look at the 10 elements of Dogma 95’s “Vow of Chastity”? To what extent does The Celebration adhere to the dictates of the movement?
12. There are certainly elements of this film that are quite unpleasant, moments that are difficult to watch. What were some of the more difficult moments for you? Overall, do you feel that this was a film worth making? Why or why not?
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RETURN TO ENG195 PAGE.