Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Narrative Revelations

In The Celebration, Thomas Vinterberg theatrically hit the audience without shame. He divulges his taboo subjects as well as narrative revelations. However, there is always extraordinary theatrics in Dogme 95, a manifesto of which Lars von Trier and Vinterberg are the forerunners of the manifesto. Other filmmakers such as Harmony Korine and Kristian Levring joined horribly from America.

As it turned out, it was an act of instant self-motivation for the brash young Danish originators. The tightening that the manifesto makes implies truth’s preservation in cinema remains intact. It places cinematic rule before the digital revolution of the future. As well as promising to democratize filmmaking, the regulations are so draconian that they deliberately flirt with silliness. The films that the manifesto makes should not only reflect reality.

However, it removes cinema from the romanticism concept. According to the manifesto, there were no outside props, no camera placement anywhere, no camera mannequins, no music on the soundtrack, and no artificial lighting. In a 2015 interview, Vinterberg claimed that the document took him and von Trier half an hour to write. Inherently, any deviation from the limits will raise suspicion about the authenticity of the results.


By not emphasizing so much cinematic convention, the films will still appeal to attention as natural creations. It’s just that rigidity and looseness reorder the growth and arrogance. Therefore, its first pioneer, The Celebration, put forward its artificiality in such a way, despite not being too counterintuitive in using melodrama. The film tells the story of the 60th birthday party of Helge Klingenfeldt-Hansen.

He is a respectable businessman. In addition, an elaborate family hotel became a gathering point for family and friends at the Klingenfeldt-Hansen cottage. With his faithful wife, Else, he is joined by his eldest son, Christian—who is busy but moody—Helene, his introverted daughter, and Michael, his volatile son. Two dozen guests from Helge’s inner circle arrived at the night. Helmut von Sachs, the toastmaster, started the party with a glorious speech.

Despite the scene being beautiful and cheerful, as well as Christian’s twin sister, Linda, who has just committed suicide, Christian interrupts a formal tuxedo banquet with a delicious meal to toast his father. Out of the blue, he admits that he and Linda were victims of their father’s sexual abuse during Cristian’s and Linda’s childhood. As shocking as the revelation, it only caused a brief distraction in the oppressive atmosphere of honor and ritual formality.

The Speeches

A guest applauds, Else offers an uncomfortable smile, and the night delivers speeches that incriminate the slow sea. A violent outburst, a vicious song, and an etiquette that character can’t hold back strip a facade. It leaves a portrait of the upper class that is so strange. In 1998, the film premiered and left vulnerable people grappling with on-screen trauma. Although, it articulates the struggles and makes other Vinterberg features like a broadcast comical soap opera.

Even in a broader culture that’s increasingly open to discussion of mental health struggles, it’s still a film that can leave us breathless and jaw-dropping. There are so many ways to appreciate The Celebration. One way is to make The Celebration a rare example in contemporary cinema of great melodrama. It is male-centric, in which a young man reckons with his trauma through the fabric of white Western culture.

In maintaining appearances, most often predict power. We might not immediately think of the antirealist and melodramatic modes we are familiar with such part, aesthetically. When considering the style and texture of the film, its expressionistic development started a cinematic movement toward aggressive aggression. Despite melodrama’s historical associations with sacrifice and feminism, many of the ideological and narrative elements recur from the genre.

Triumph of the Innocence

Domestic suffocation, class centrality, the triumph of morality, the corruption of innocence, and emotional dramatization are but a few examples. From the beginning to the end of the film, the camera will continue to invade or explore private spaces, as if we were playing home filmmakers at a birthday party. As well as being one of the first to use a handheld digital video camera, the stimulating effect reveals ugly truths about its character.

Indeed, Dogme 95 degenerates a forced technical choice from an artistic but practical discipline. The Danish provocateur experimentation questions the conventional form of composition, narrative allusion, and cinema. Under the banner, it remains inseparable from the structure and movement. By setting limits on uncredited directors, Vinterberg takes away the intelligence in both content and technique.

As well as better reflecting the principles of the manifesto, he finalized and designed his productions presently precise analogies to the movement’s views. The alignment of Vinterberg’s and Dogme 95’s narratives creates a context’s thematic and visual organization. Intellectually, the film remains at its transcendent significance in the history of cinema and experimental film. Incest, pedophilia, patriarchal fallacies, racism, and paternalism attack the audience in the multifaceted layers of welcoming an examination.

Thomas Vinterberg

At the time, Vinterberg was only 29 years old when he directed and released The Celebration. As well as being his international breakthrough, he has been a filmmaker who shows a keen interest in people who take into account his technical style and energetic emotional trauma. Vinterberg, 1993 alumni of the Danish National Film School, first earned festival recognition with two short films.

His first work, The Biggest Heroes, becomes a film’s significant warming retrospective despite being more interesting than The Celebration. However, because his journey marked the beginning of the adventure-comedy template, it represented only the conventional genre plot types and formal filmmaking that Dogme 95 would create. In other words, he pushes the viewer into an utterly uncomfortable world.

It turns us into spectators in the world’s worst family home. Indeed, the manifesto seeks to fight against the domination of individualism, escapism, illusion, and globalization. As well as fighting the mindless spectacle that Hollywood primarily perpetuates, Vinterberg called it a reaction to the state of affairs and mediocrity in American and European cinema. The oath stipulates the commandments that the directors of the manifesto must follow in imitating or capturing reality.

Interpreting Dogme 95

In reaching for a realistic alternative, what Vinterberg aspirationally calls a nude film. Such an approach reveals the actors and stories that are the raw materials of the film. However, the ideas were unheard of it. So, critics scoffed at the notion that Vinterberg and von Trier were creating a novelty. After all, Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut tried similar tactics to achieve more authentic but realistic originality.

Still, the inherent nature of filmmaking allows for variation and produces very different examples in some 30 films. Since the declaration, every filmmaker has interpreted the guidelines differently. Indeed, the production prohibits many cinematic techniques of the manifesto. Vice versa, it always focuses on the script; the camera follows the actors through the plot points without cuts which increases the atmosphere making a shot.

While being the film’s most critically successful film, the acclaim comes due to the novelty of the fledgling movement and the fact that Vinterberg as a playwright is evident in every frame. In essence, he understood what he had to do and to keep his audience in his hand’s palm. The manifesto appeared to the world like Christian’s speech in The Celebration.

Disclosure Equivalent

It is a blow to the establishment that the protagonist conveys in the public sphere. His words hit with the force of a hurricane, eliciting a momentary shock though there was a flurry of applause and an awkward laugh. However, another character stands out in delivering another speech. Desperate to shake off the lingering uneasiness, Christian can only sit with a blank expression. At first, we interpret his expression as a sense of hopelessness and fortitude.

Gradually, it became clear that the show would continue. However, Christian’s chilling revelation doesn’t dampen his drive to respect Helge. Else forced an awkward smile while the obedient guests bravely fought back to the party. Plus, there’s all the tasty food they shouldn’t waste. Bourgeois duty is almost supernaturally compelled to smile through it all. If only the deeply anti-bourgeois manifesto identified production standards, much of Hollywood cinema would define them as traditionally conservative.

Likewise, the Klingenfeldt-Hansen family relied heavily on respectable manners and preserving convention. By making it the narrative equivalent of the film, Vinterberg makes it a terrible yet difficult thing. Emotional disclosure tendencies. It turns us into spectators at the world’s worst family reunion.

Representational Isolation

In another way, von Trier and Vinterberg set boundaries that will limit but inspire filmmakers to create the real. They strive to force the truth out of characters and settings by any means available. At the expense of good taste and any aesthetic considerations, the limitations include shooting locations without fancy studio equipment, non-diegetic sound, or post-sync sound. The cinematography must shoot in the academy town aspect; the camera is handheld only.

There are no special filters and lighting in changing the picture, even if it doesn’t determine the nature of the truth that the director has to explore. Such representational constraints, for example, cannot explore truth through genre practice. However, the film also cannot use shallow actions like guns or murder. Besides taking place in the present but moving around, it avoids the expressive use of geographic and time isolation.

Finally, Vinterberg had to give his credit no credit thanks to the rules that the manifesto entered. It undermines the artistic impulse of filmmaking and makes the director committed to the order; It tells the truth. Indeed, Vinterberg orchestrated his story so that the most plausible source for any upcoming drama could be one of Christian’s two surviving siblings.


On the other hand, Michael is an angry and drunken black sheep. He often saw Christian on the side of the road when driving, giving his brother lifts. However, his seemingly benevolent demeanor runs out to the misfortune of Michael’s long-suffering wife and children. He kicked them out and forced them to walk the rest of the way. Behind, Helene first appears when she turns on the joint in the back of the car.

She offers her number to the driver if he picks up speed. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine how Christian plays as a boat rocker. Vinterberg further makes the audience lose their scent. He implies a potential redemption narrative between Helge and Michael before the party starts. Yet, the basic premise of The Celebration explains how an individual takes a terrible risk by speaking truth to power.

In such ways, it’s so jarring that it’s easy to overlook the misdirection and ingenious skill that Vinterberg has taken to such a dramatic turning point. We can notice how Dogme 95 does not mention its morality or politics and is not a manifesto of ideological causes only. Except, it’s only against the cinematic establishment by presenting a split idea between outsiders and the lower classes.


When Christian makes his initial announcement, family members try to control the situation by distracting him and dismissing his claims as an unnatural joke. At first, Helge is confused; Helene apologizes for her speech in convincing the guests of wrongful accusations. On the other hand, Else emphasized how Christian has a talent for fiction and can become a writer. However, the denial overtook the guests in continuing with the dinner.

Most sing a song in honor of Helge and stand up to give a speech. The Celebration becomes a top-down drama about the ruling class’s power in shaking down the patriarchal position of hypocrisy. The manifesto seeks to achieve the same in positioning its position as a usurper. In specific scenes, when one or the characters are in place, the handheld aesthetic starts to register as a tightness.

Its filth is very much at odds with the privileged regime; besides, most of the film is set in the lives of wealthy families choosing to have fun. Visually, Vinterberg treats the family’s labyrinthine home as more than an ugly inconvenience. Its exterior becomes unfit for stunning shots. However, it’s barely roomy enough for a small camera where the busy scope ruins the party preparations.

Constructing Naturalism

For example, the apparent naturalism of the film evokes its construction in a scene where there is a boom mic we can see. New media aesthetics can’t skimp on directorial talent in favor of traditional dramatic fireworks. Michael doesn’t just look down on his wife, Mette; he plays the cartoon. On the other hand, Helene reveals that the memory of the late Linda does not only haunt her.

She only truly believes that her ghostly sister haunts the place. Meanwhile, Christian waited for his time, sat down, and chatted with his father. At the film’s end, Christian and his friends remove Helge. However, considering what the royal people had done let alone what morality remained. Whether it’s about wishes for happiness or not, some threads connect Vinterberg’s various works.

Such ambivalence repeatedly returns to the problem of collective anxiety. For example, a mild-mannered elementary school teacher stands in his town after allegations of child molestation unlawfully destroyed him in The Hunt. In Another Round, a quartet of high school teachers turns to excessive drinking to quell the headaches of middle age. Indeed, Vinterberg always delivers a happy ending that somehow stifles satisfaction, acknowledgment, and even damage in all cases.

Symbolic Conventions

Despite being a tease in itself at the loss of enduring historical and critical significance, Dogme 95 is experimentally vibrant. The manifesto itself ceased a long time ago. However, The Celebration signifies the movement in the narrative of dramatic yet symbolic harmony with a manifesto attitude to cinematic conventions. Vinterberg’s critical acclaim and popularity helped establish digital filmmaking; small-scale and independent productions could explore low-cost handheld cameras as a means of cost reduction and experimentation.

Such relevant statements about patriarchal power and the abuse of thorny authority continue to affect us. We accuse the manifesto as a tool for self-promotion, especially for von Trier himself. However, Vinterberg made only one film that complied with the limitations of Dogme 95 and was the most effective technically and emotionally. It encapsulates the movement’s anti-traditionalist worldview in a narrative.

While setting aside the strict rules, the motion has an ironic understanding of the interplay between unconventional and conventional modes. The apparent co-action becomes apparent when the family continues their courtesies over breakfast as if the world had not been destroyed last night. However, Helge had to make up for it. In truth, Christian found peace with Linda during the dream.


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