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6.8 The Biggest Heroes (1996)
7.2 The Celebration (1998)
6.0 It's All About Love (2003)
6.5 Dear Wendy (2005)
6.0 A Man Comes Home (2007)
6.9 Submarino (2010)
7.4 The Hunt (2012)
6.0 Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)
6.4 The Commune (2016)
6.8 Another Round (2020)

Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark, 1969) debuted, after some shorts, with De Storste Helte/ The Biggest Heroes (1996).

Festen/ The Celebration (1998) is a family melodrama full of psychological tension, set in a mansion during a twenty-four hour period. Two brothers, one quiet and polite and the other a brute and a drunkard, are used to analyze their father, who is the real villain of the story. The film is as cruel and deep as it looks light and superficial. The gallery of characters, engaged in unveiling the family's dark secrets, is reminiscent of the plays of Ibsen and Strindberg.

Christian is on his cellular phone and is walking down a country road connecting the train station and the land of his father. His brother Michael is driving down the same road with his family and stops to give him a ride. Michael is arrogant and pretentious and has his family get off the car in order to make room for his brother, although there is plenty of room for everybody. Needless to say, his wife Mette is rather upset. When they arrive at the huge mansion, they find out that Michael has not been invited: he has a reputation for unfriendly behaviour when he gets drunk, which happens frequently. In the menatime, their sister Helene is in a car driving like an obsessed. As she arrives, she reproaches Michael for missing their other sister's funeral. More guests arrive and pass Michael's family which is still walking. They are all gathering at Helge's mansion to celebrate his 60th birthday.
Helene is given her sister's room and we learn that the dead girl, Linda, was Christian's twin. She notes that somebody painted a fish on the roof of the bathroom where the girl died.
Michael and his wife Mette have another argument, and then have sex like animals.
Christian is talking with the waitress Pia, whom he is obviously attached to. He is calm and friendly. After they had sex, she undresses and enters the bathroom and faints a suicide in the tub.
In the bathroom Helene finds Linda's suicide letter.
Michael falls in the shower and, again, yells at his wife.
At the birthday banquet, Christian is clearly not happy with his father's speech.
The waitress Michelle pours water on Michael's pants in front of his wife: obviously they have a story to hide.
Christian taps his spoon on the glass to get everybody's attention and then calmly accuse his father of having repeatedly raped both him and the other children. In the kitchen the staff is listening carefully through an intercom to what is happening in the dining room.
An embarrassed silence follows Christian's remarks, then the celebration continues and Christian walks out of the room. Helene tells the guests that Christian did not tell the truth. Christian goes to the kitchen to meet his childhood friend, the chef Kim. Christian wants to leave but Kim reproaches him as if he was running away from his duty.
His father comes to look for him and has a word with him. He flatly asks Christian why he lied. Christian apologizes: he is just very stressed. Then Christian rejoins the banquet.
In the kitchen the chef continues to direct the insurrection: he orders Michelle and Pia to steal the car keys of all the guests, so they won't be able to leave before Christian completes his mission.
Michael sees a black American approaching the mansion and treats him in a racist manner, offering him money to leave even if he has been invited. The black man, Gbatokai, is his sister's boyfriend. Michael is disgusted when he sees her kissing him and even calls him a "monkey".
Christian rises again and calls for a toast to his father, calling him the man who murdered his sister. This time the old man walks out of the room, followed by all the guests. Some of them would like to leave but the car keys cannot be found.
Michelle confronts Michael and makes a scene because he is not giving her any attention. He tries to buy her silence but she slaps him in the face. He beats her savagely.
In the meantime, the father has confronted Christian again and told him that he is the one who should be ashamed. Listing Christian's failures in life and the fact that he abandoned Linda when she most needed him, Helge paints a picture of his son as the real villain.
The guests have no choice but to return to the dining table. It is now Christian's mother to make a toast and she invites Christian to apologize for having told all those lies. Christian rises and, instead of apologizing, tells of when she caught his father in the act, sodomizing him, Christian, and she simply walked out. Christian even says he hopes she dies. to make a toast and she invites Christian to apologize for having told all those lies. Christian rises and, instead of apologizing, tells of when she caught his father in the act, sodomizing him, Christian, and she simply walked out. Christian even says he hopes she dies. Michael gets up and pushes Christian out of the room and keeps pushing him until he physically ejects him from the house.
Christian re-enters the house, walks straight into the room while his grandmother is singing a merry song and resumes his speech. Michael and other guests grab him and carry him outside again, but this time they also beat him and tie him to a tree in the woods.
Back inside, Michael has an argument with Gbatokai and only Helene's intervention avoids a fight. When, back at the table, Michael leads the guests into a racist song, Helene leaves the room. Pia helps her in the bathroom and, while searching for pills in her purse, finds Linda's suicide note.
While Christian, who has freed himself, rejoins the guests, Helene rises and reads Linda's suicide note. Her last words clearly accuse her father. At the end of the letter Helge asks the servants to pour drinks to the guests, but they refuse to move. As Christian asks him why he did it, Helge leaves the room furious.
It is finally time to go to bed. Christian wakes up and thinks he sees Linda. It is actually Helene ringing him to go downstairs again. While Christian joins Linda and her boyfriend for a late-night dance, Michael, completely drunk, attacks his father and drags him outside.
The following morning the guests have breakfast as if nothing happened. Christian asks Pia to move to Paris with him. His father enters the room, sits at the table and gives a speech in which he apologizes and recognizes that he will probably never see them again. Michael gets up and whispers to him to get out so can go on with breakfast.

It's All About Love (2003)

Dear Wendy (2005)

En Mand Kommer Hjem/ A Man Comes Home (2007)

Submarino (2010)

Jagten/ The Hunt (2012) is a very powerful drama about an innocent persecuted by a community that in theory is the ideal community of honest, hard-working, religious, altruistic people. The parallel with the witch hunts of the past is obvious. Innocents can be burned at the stake also in the age of rational science. The last scene tells us that the innocent's life will never be normal again, that there is no way to prove definitely and absolutely one's innocence.

Lucas, a young man, is a teacher at a kindergarten. When everybody has already left the building, Lucas finds a little girl, Klara, standing alone and claiming she doesn't remember how to get home. Lucas walks her home. Klara is the daughter of Lucas' friends Theo and Agnes. Theo asks him about his situation with his ex-wife: Lucas is divorced and his wife Kirsten allows him to see his son Marcus only once a week. His wife Kirsten is ashamed of his job is not something to be proud of, but Lucas wants Marcus to move in with him for the Christmas holidays. Later Klara's older brother Torsten walks in with one of his friends and they show her the picture of a woman opening her mouth in front of an erected penis. The following day Klara is sitting outside alone while her parents are arguing loudly inside the house. She is patiently waiting for someone to walk her to kindergarten. Lucas is passing by and takes her there. At the kindergarten Klara kisses him on the mouth and sneaks a little gift inside his jacket. Klara is offended when he talks to her about it. In the evening Klara is again waiting alone because her mother is late again. She tells the kindergarten director Grethe that she hates Lucas and talks about Lucas' penis as if she saw it, simply describing the penis she saw in Thorsten's picture. Grethe doesn't mention it to Agnes when she comes to pick up Klara but is clearly disturbed. Meanwhile, Lucas is chatting with the young coworker Nadja, a Russian immigrant who speaks English to him and who, bored and lonely, clearly likes him. Lucas goes hunting by himself and kills a dear. Then he goes out drinking with a group of friends. After taking the drunk Theo home to Agnes, Lucas meets Nadja and takes her to his place, and they have sex, and she moves in with him. Grethe tells Lucas that one of the children has made an accusation and advises him to take two days off. Meanwhile, an expert, Ole, interrogates Klara and she repeats the accusation. Ole believes the girl and advises Grethe to inform the family and then the police. Grethen not only tells Agnes but later tells all the parents. In the middle of the night Marcus calls Lucas to tell him that he heard the rumors and he has been forbidden to communicate with him. The following morning Lucas confronts Grethe but Grethe doesn't want to talk to him and she has already stirred up the parents of the other children against him so he is escorted out. But at least Lucas learns from Grethe who the accusing child is: Klara. So Lucas visits his old friend Theo hoping that he can make Klara tell the truth, but Theo tells Lucas that Klara never lies and threatens to kill Lucas. Klara actually tells her mom that she made up everything but Agnes has been worried that in these cases children deny it after they are confronted. Grethen creates enough suspicion that other parents start suspecting that Lucas molested their children too. Grethen even discourages Nadja from seeing Lucas. Klara now is scared by what she has started and comes crying to Lucas' place to apologize. When even Nadja seems to doubt Lucas, Lucas kicks her out. Now Lucas is really alone. Lucas gets fired and the police opens a formal investigation. It's almost Christmas and it starts snowing. One morning Lucas is surprised by his son Marcus, who comes to see him despite everything. There is only one friend who believes in Lucas' innocence, Bruun, who is Marcus' godfather, but everybody else treats him like a disgusting human being. Marcus goes shopping in the local supermarket but is told not to show up there again by the owner. When Marcus gets home, he sees his father Lucas being arrested by two police officers. Marcus walks straight to Theo's house and tries to confront Klara, but Klara still denies lying. Marcus spits in her face and is kicked out of the house and beaten by Johan, a big friend of Theo and former friend of Lucas. Marcus insults them and then walks to his godfather Bruun who hasn't abandoned Lucas. Bruun tells Marcus that all the children are telling the same story of being molested in Lucas' basement... but Lucas' home doesn't have a basement. Therefore Lucas is released from prison. But people are still convinced that he is guilty. In the evening, while Lucas is cooking dinner for Marcus, someone throws a big stone at his window and leaves a bag outside: the bag contains Lucas' dog, killed. Lucas, worried that his son might also become a target, sends Marcus back to his mother. Lucas insists on being served at the supermarket but the staff beats him up and throws him in the street. But Lucas walks back in, still bleeding and limping, and hits one of the men inside so the supermarket's owner accepts to sell him groceries. Theo, Agnes and Klara see Lucas walk out of the supermarket with broken glasses and blood on his face. It is Christmas Eve. In the evening Lucas washes his face and gets dressed for church. He walks into church where the whole town is assembled. When the kindergarten choir, including Klara, intones the Christmas carol , Lucas starts crying and punches Theo in the face in front of everybody. Back home Theo, who already started having doubts, realizes that Klara is feeling guilty about what she has caused to Lucas. Klara confesses that Lucas is innocent and Theo cries. Lucas is already asleep when Theo walks into his house to apologize.
One year later Lucas and Nadja are together agan and they drive Marcus to his first hunting party. All of Lucas' old friends are there, and they all smile and shake hands with Lucas as if nothing happened. But in the woods while Lucas is hunting deer, someone shoots at him and narrowly misses him. Lucas cannot see the shooter and we are not told. The shooter runs away.

Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)

Kollektivet/ The Commune (2016)

Kursk (2018)

Druk/ Another Round (2020) is an odd realistic drama that neither achieves pathos nor tells an inspiring story.

Following a wild party that continued on a train and resulted in the ticket inspector being handcuffed to the train, teachers discuss a zero-alcohol policy at the school. Martin is a history teacher at a high school. His students finds his style boring and confusing. One student, fed up, physically leaves the classroom. At home he asks his wife boring if he has become a boring person and Anika admits that he is not the man she married. At school he is summoned to a meeting with students and their parents. The parents are concerned that he is giving low marks to the students and that will weigh on their application to the top universities. Martin's defence is that students spend all the time watching their phone instead of studying but one student tells him that his rambling style is counterproductive. Martin attends the birthday dinner of a fellow teacher, Nikolaj, who is married to a rich wife and has three children. The dinner is also attended by fellow teachers Tommy and Peter. Nikolaj believes in the theory of a psychiatrist, Finn Skarderud, according to which drinking alcohol is good because we are born with a low content and a bit more can make us more creative and relaxed. Nikolaj also remarks that Martin's problem with the student is simply that he is not self-confident and exciting. Martin confesses marital problems with Anika. His friends reminisce when Martin was young, a promising young man, but had to give up on his ambitions when he got married and became a father. The following day Martin drinks alcohol before class and then has to ask Martin for a ride because he's too drunk to drive. Nikolaj takes him to Tommy's place when all four reunite. They decide to test Skarderud's theory and document the results in an essay. To imitate Hemingway, they agree never to drink after 8pm. The following day Martin is a much more exciting teacher. Peter is a music teacher and equally successful when a little drunk. Tommy is coaching young children to play football and can't share his "water" with a thirsty child. A janitor finds empty bottles and alerts the principal that someone has been drinking alcohol during school hours. The four meet afterwards and exchange feedback: they all feel better teachers. They agree to increase the daily dose of alcohol. We then see funny historical footage of world leaders who were caught drunk on TV. Nikolaj is jealous when he sees that Martin has become popular with his students thanks to a higher amount of alcohol in his blood, and decides to emulate him. Tommy is equally inspiring as a football coach for little children. Peter event advises a nervous student to drink before the examination. Martin also reconnects with his wife and his kids. Nikolaj proposes that they get truly drunk and documents the whole process. They start at Nikolaj's house but then continue outside. They get so drunk that they can't even stand up in the store where they try to shop for Nikolaj's wife. Peter falls in the sea. They continue drinking in a pub till late evening. Nikolaj crawls back home in the dark and craws into the bed but then pees in the bed, waking up his wife whose scream then wakes up the children. Meanwhile, Martin is so intoxicated that he sleeps in the street and is found by neighbors in the morning. At dinner his wife forces him to explain his behavior to the children. He admits that he has been drunk for a while. They noticed. His wife is horrified. She accuses him of having abandoned his family. She confesses that she has cheated on him. He leaves the house, furious. The four decide to stop the experiment due to (as Nikolaj writes in his diary) "immense negative effects". Some time later, Tommy publicly embarrasses himself in front of the whole teachers body showing up completely drunk. Martin takes him home. Tommy encourages him to reconcile with his wife. Martin meets with his wife at a restaurant and apologizes to her, but she's not prepared to get back together. It's about time for the dreaded history examination. The students are confident and thank Martin. Peter gives alcohol to the nervous student who is ready to give up and the student makes it through the examination. The students celebrate the end of school and success at the examination. Outside, a drunk Tommy sails away on his boat and then we see that he is no longer in the boat. Martin, Peter and Nikolaj attend Tommy's funeral and carry the casket to the hearse. Martin's wife texts him that she's ready to get back together. Martin, Peter and Nikolaj join the students who are partying at the harbor. Martin drinks and dances wildly like a teenager.

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