Her look of resignation then is the main characterizing touch we get for clarifying Mette, and such brief indications by the actors are frequently all we have to understand these people, such as the doting attentions of Helge's wife, Else (Sandra Laub).

There are a couple of onlookers at the long banquet table where Festen takes place. Two guests from Helge's lodge, Helmut (Richard Noble) and Poul (Kerry Callery), can be considered as standing in for all of Denmark, politely ignoring anything embarrassing. Another voyeur is the cook, Kim (David Tessier), who grew up as a playmate to Christian but who now knows his place, with the help of the alcohol always in his hand. The cheerful, sexually comfortable chambermaid Pia (Dakota Shepard) is the only one carefree enough to be having fun.

Poor Christian, poor Christians. Every Western culture martyrs those who speak truth to the powerful.

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