The Celebration (1998)

The first true “Dogme 95” movie—which means it was made according to the Danish filmmaker cabal’s rules of production “chastity,” including being shot with handheld cameras, with fidelity to the location, and with natural light, and without unrealistic indulgences like sets, soundtrack music, and postproduction tinkering—Thomas Vinterberg’s Scanda-Gothic The Celebration

 

 

seems to have been filmed by a stoned documentary camera crew, and the effect borders on the queasily threatening. When you can make out the characters in the underlit video haze, they’re a riveting crew, a large and wealthy Dutch hotel family attending an annual party for the patriarch’s birthday. Of course, the closets are opened, the vicious family secrets come tumbling out, ghosts are detected, and roles are switched, and it’s all supremely hilarious, appalling, and alarming.

 

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