Review: ‘Celebration’

If a camera crew came upon a group of Martians living on Earth, they could scarcely treat their subjects with greater amazement than Dutch helmers Quirine Racke and Helena Muskens treat the residents of Disney-built Celebration, Fla. Using 360-degree pans to prove the houses aren't stage sets, "Celebration" takes a straightforward anthropological approach rather than trying for an expose-style reportage.

If a camera crew came upon a group of Martians living on Earth, they could scarcely treat their subjects with greater amazement than Dutch helmers Quirine Racke and Helena Muskens treat the residents of Disney-built Celebration, Fla. Using 360-degree pans to prove the houses aren’t stage sets, “Celebration” takes a straightforward anthropological approach rather than trying for an expose-style reportage. This voyeuristic opportunity of seeing true American eccentrics at home will make ideal viewing for Euro cable.

Attracted by the idea of a white bread utopia, people flocked to Celebration because the Mouse House logo seemed to guarantee “happily ever after.” But when press got bad and Disney discovered it couldn’t control the fantasy 24/7, Mickey sold the town. Docu doesn’t investigate the scandal but rather focuses on six families, some of which come to understand that their infantile vision of a beneficent Mouse House is as solid as the first little pig’s house of straw. Video quality will work best on small screens; intrusive music, striving to sound like a paranoid Tinkerbell on dope, needs toning down.

Celebration

Netherlands

Production

A Submarine production in co-production with NPS. (International sales: Submarine, Amsterdam.) Produced by Bruno Felix, Femke Wolting. Directed, written, edited by Quirine Racke, Helena Muskens.

Crew

Camera (color, video), Menno Westendorp; music, David Shea; sound, Simone Galavazi. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Exploding Cinema), Jan. 30, 2005. Running time: 55 MIN.

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