It’s summertime and the famous opera singer Karl Kristian Schmidt is on his way home. The town has come alive for his performance, and at the centre of all the madness and expectations we find the shy and stuttering Sebastian who is engaged to the beautiful Claudia. However, his first love, the irresistible Maria, resurfaces, and even though he had promised himself to remain the nicest guy in town they collide in a ripe grain field. To top it all, his lesbian mother reveals that his supposedly dead father is none other than Karl Kristian Schmidt, who has also had a collision of his own with the beautiful Maria. During a grand gala dinner, the skeletons come rattling out of the closet. A man has come home – and nothing is as it used to be!
In addition to rapidly establishing himself as a formidable cinematic talent, Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg is notorious for celebrating the idea — via his own career accomplishments and an overall philosophy he has encouraged in others — of utilizing more lightweight film production equipment and smaller budgets, as a stride away from big-studio gigantism. His co-establishment (alongside Lars von Trier) of the Dogme 95 film movement exemplifies this idea.
Born on May 19, 1969, in Copenhagen, Vinterberg graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 1993 with Last Round under his arm — a student short that garnered a formidable number of honors around the globe for a first-timer, including the Jury Award and the VFF Young Talent Award; it would ultimately receive a 1994 Oscar nomination for Best Live-Action Short Subject. He went on to helm the short-subject follow-up The Boy Who Walked Backwards (1993) — the sad tale of a Danish boy who internally chastises himself… read more
An interesting if eccentric companion piece to the earlier Rukov/Vinterberg collaboration 'Festen', where once again the action is framed around a disastrous social event where conflicts between father and son threaten to turn the proceedings into an emotionally fraught fiasco. However, while the candid-camera melodrama of the earlier film helped to defuse some of its more obvious contrivances, the colourful slapstick (or farce) of the film in question only exaggerates the artifice, making the relationships between characters more difficult to believe.
Great script and entertaining film by Thomas Vinterberg proving the promise he showed with his debut "The Celebration" in 1998 in ways that "Dear Wendy" did not. Well cast and well constructed. Exceptional camerawork from the nearly always great Anthony Dod Mantle. Kudos to writers Vinterberg, Rukov and Kaufmann.