Q

Filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg remembers Dogme #1: Festen, 20 years on

Filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg and UCL lecturer Claire Thomson present a q guide to Dogme 95, the filmmaking movement that was on a mission to rewrite the rules of cinema.
In Thomas Vinterberg's Festen, Henning Moritzen plays a respected patriarch who is celebrating his 60th birthday. (Nimbus Film)

Dogme 95 was a filmmaking movement started by two Danish filmmakers, Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Tired of the big budget, action-packed studio blockbusters that reined supreme, Von Trier and Vinterberg created a set of rules for a new kind of cinema. They refused special lighting and effects, soundtracks and other post-production modifications in an attempt to return to the traditional filmmaking values of story, acting and theme. This left the film world rattled.

When Von Trier and Vinterberg announced this new era of filmmaking in 1995, people wondered what a Dogme movie would look like. The public would have to wait three years — until the Cannes Film Festival of 1998 — to find out.

In this q guide to Dogme 95, Vinterberg, the director of the very first Dogme movie, tells us 20 years later whether he thinks he and Von Trier were successful in their mission to rewrite the rule book of cinema. You'll also hear from Claire Thomson, a senior lecturer in Scandinavian Studies at University College London, and the author of a book on this film.

Produced by Frank Palmer


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