Finnish fantasy Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale opens in Los Angeles and Pasadena this Friday, December 10 at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 in West Hollywood and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. It will open in Orance County the following Friday on December 17th at Regal’s Westpark 8 in Irvine. My review for this film can be read here.
Directed by Jalmari Helander, this film puts an unusual twist on Santa Claus, who may actually be an unfriendly creature of Finnish lore buried within Korvatunturi Mountains. The film won Best Picture, Director, and Cinematography on Sitges Film Festival 2010 held in Europe, which is considered the world’s foremost international festival specializing in fantasy and horror movies.
Here is the synopsis: It’s the eve of Christmas in northern Finland and an ‘archeological’ dig has just unearthed the real Santa Claus. But this particular Santa isn’t the one you want coming to town. When all the local children begin mysteriously disappearing, young Pietari and his father Rauno, a reindeer hunter by trade, capture the mythological being and attempt to sell Santa to the misguided leader of the multinational corporation sponsoring the dig. Santa’s elves, however, will stop at nothing to free their fearless leader from captivity. What ensues is a wildly humorous nightmare – a fantastically bizarre polemic on modern day morality. RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE is a re-imagining of the most classic of all childhood fantasies, and is a darkly comic gem soon to be required perennial holiday viewing.
According to director Jalmari Helander, “Our goal was to make a new kind of Christmas tale…no flying on a sleigh or sucking on peppermint bars, even though there is Santa Claus in the story. No, the idea was to make a fantasy film about the real and original Finnish Santa Claus, not his modern travesty that is already too familiar to everyone.”
He adds, “[In this film], I wanted to handle great events in small circles and create fantasy with a realistic approach. I wanted to show how small the people are against nature and ancient creatures that have been here far longer than us… It is peculiar that no one has taken up this subject matter before. What did the notorious Yule Goat (of Finnish lore) that used to go from house to house in the old days represent? The horned creature that used to bring twigs to children is now a chubby, red-coated every child’s best friend.”
Here are some additional information:
Los Angeles Release Date: December 10, 2010 at Laemmle’s Sunset 5, West Hollywood; Laemmle’s Playhouse 7, Pasadena
OC Release Date: December 17, 2010 at Regal’s Westpark 8; Irvine
Writer/Director: Jalmari Helander
Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories
Running Time: 80 minutes
Language: English and Finnish (with English subtitles)
Cast: Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Ilmari Jarvenpaa, Per Christian Ellefsen
-WINNER -Best Film, Best Director and Best Cinematography, Sitges Film Festival 2010
-WINNER – Piazza Grande Award, Locarno Film Festival 2010