Vallée de la Bruche
Alsace - Massif des Vosges - France

Wild Scenes: FESTEN

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© C.Zevaco

Helge celebrates his sixtieth birthday. For the occasion, he brings together his friends, parents and children at the family estate: Michael, the youngest son, his sister Else, and Christian, the eldest, who lives abroad, and returns for the occasion. Christian prepared two speeches in honor of his father. When the time comes to make a toast, no one suspects that one of them will lift the veil on a terrible secret... When it was released in 1998, Thomas Vinterberg's film caused a real event. Unity of time and place, dirty image, banishment of filters and additional sounds, the film is in touch with a direct reality. Twenty-five years later, if Festen has lost none of his dazzlingness, he owes it as much to the formal audacity he demonstrates as to the subjects he tackles head-on, and which touch on the burning question of hypocrisy as the main engine of social cohesion in our democracies. Or, as the director defined it in 1998, the problem of “the link between the rise of fascism in a country and the pressure of lies structuring all the members of a family”. Since then, we have seen the rise of movements to free the voices of victims of sexual violence, from #Meetoo to abuse scandals in the Church. But these phenomena constantly come up against the rise of reactionary protests wherever they develop. This is because questioning an established order is only desirable for those it oppresses. Twenty-five years later, Festen continues his work to undermine the mechanisms of systemic domination at work in our societies. He does it as in any great tragedy, deploying the means of powerful catharsis.