At a countryside manor a celebration is being organised for the revered family patriarch Helge’s 60th birthday. Everyone has been invited, and most importantly his wife and three grown-up children: Christian, Michael and Helene. Christian makes a speech nobody will ever forget.
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Along with Breaking The Waves this is the crowning film of the Dogma movement. Its a painful reminder of the need to keep appearances in our society at all cost, even when the truth is screaming at us in the face.
The use of handheld camera, however, is perhaps the most important element in conveying the general atmosphere of the film. The constant trembling and sharp movements of the camera in closed claustrophobic environments create the uneasy feeling that there is something constantly threatening to explode.
I love it because no punches are pulled. It's extreme.
I love any family that is more messed up than my own. My mom wants to be the matriarch of the family, but we won't let her. Everyone has delusions of grandeur. We still have our secrets, and may die with them.
When you look at the great painters, you see the confidence in every brushstroke--how much the painter dared and charged ahead with each motion, fearlessly. This is how I see the energy in Vinterberg's film. There is so much risk-taking and daring in this movie. It's almost like the camera constantly wants to attack the situation, like some kind of weapon. So much aggressive energy, and it never dies down.