The Celebration | EW.com

Movies

The CelebrationDogma 95, the no-frills aesthetic cooked up by a quartet of Danish filmmakers that decries the artificial smoothness of studio filmmaking, may yet turn...The CelebrationForeign Language, DramaRDogma 95, the no-frills aesthetic cooked up by a quartet of Danish filmmakers that decries the artificial smoothness of studio filmmaking, may yet turn...1999-08-20
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The Celebration

Genre: Foreign Language, Drama; Starring: Henning Moritzen, Ulrich Thomsen; Director: Thomas Vinterberg; MPAA Rating: R

Dogma 95, the no-frills aesthetic cooked up by a quartet of Danish filmmakers that decries the artificial smoothness of studio filmmaking, may yet turn out to be little more than a pompous bid for attention, but this ultra-naturalistic entry makes a mighty convincing case for its merits. Working with a surefire family-skeleton premise – a bitter son chooses the occasion of his father’s 60th-birthday party to belatedly accuse the man, before all assembled, of childhood sexual abuse – director-cowriter Thomas Vinterberg uses lurching handheld camera work and murky ambient lighting as witty, unsettling counterpoints to the characters’ dogged unflappability. It’s a lesson that Hollywood would do well to learn: Nothing sparks the imagination quite like a load of self-imposed restrictions.