A Christmas Tale
imagine you have found out that
Santa Claus really did exist, but was
not the benign, kindly gentleman who
loved children that you had been led
to believe as a young boy discovers
in the brilliantly-executed, thrilling tale
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale...
A MASSIVE ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION on a mountain on the Russian border close
to their remote rural homes holds fascination for young Pietari (the cute and
talented Onni Tommila) and his friend Juuso (Ilmori Järvenpää, a terrific foil).
But there is danger lurking beneath the rocks.
The two boys have entered a forbidden area, cutting a hole in the fence, in
order to watch the excavations. But Pietari knows a thing or two about folklore
and warns Juuso about a legend of a vengeful Santa Claus, a supernatural being
who does unspeakable things to naughty children and who was frozen in ice and
buried under a pile of rocks.
Juuso scoffs at Pietari's fears but that night Pietari's discovers footprints
on his roof and believes that the evil Santa has paid him a visit. The discovery
by his widowed father Rauno (a sympathetic Jorma Tommila) and the men of the
community that the large herd of Reindeer the townsfolk depended upon for their
livelihood has been slain spells disaster for them and they believe it is the
work of wolves. This conclusion upsets Pietari, who believes he is responsible
for the loss of the herd.
An illegal wolf trap is set, but an astonished Rauno finds he has caught something
much more lethal than a wolf something that could make things even worse
Meanwhile, the young and adventurous Pietari finds that all the children have
gone missing, which leads him to the shocking, ugly truth about the being known
the world over as Santa Claus. The scientists on the mountain believe the mountain
to be the largest burial mound in the world and have released a sinister presence
upon the population.
Can Pietari use his knowledge of the creature to save his friends and is he
brave enough to follow his plan through? So what is the mysterious figure Rauno
and his friend Piiporinen (Rauno Juvonen) are now holding captive? Can they
turn around their fortunes? Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is an astonishing,
thrilling, strange and brilliantly-executed take on the origins of Father Christmas.
The film comes together well and has been described as having elements of The
Thing combined with the adolescent adventure spirit of Gremlins,
The Goonies and The Monster Squad. This is not your usual Father
Christmas. Vegetarians should be warned that Pietari's father is a butcher and
there is also some male nudity.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale also stars: Tommi Korpela as Almo; and
features: Per Christian Ellefsen as Riley; Peeter Jakobi as Pietari's Elf; Jonathan
Hutchings as Greene; and Risto Salmi as The Sheriff.
Director of Photography is Mika Orasmaa, FSC; Visual Effects by Fake Graphics;
Original Music by Juri Seppä and Miska Seppä; Producers are: Petri Jokiranta,
Knut Skoglund, François-Xavier Frantz and Anna Björk. Written and Directed by
Jalmari Helander (who is also responsible for Production Design) and based on
the original idea by The Helander Brothers.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale sees
Finnish director Jalmari Helander in his critically acclaimed debut feature
that is now coming to DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Icon Home Entertainment,
on 7 November 2011. Certificate: 15 | Running time: 80 minutes.
"Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is an astonishing, thrilling, strange
and brilliantly-executed take on the origins of Father Christmas" Maggie
"Great fun and visually spectacular ****" Kevin Maher, The
"A Christmas story for people who hate Christmas… executed with such audacious
style and with such a big vision that it's impossible to watch without a big
grin spreading across your face" Twitch
"An original, daring, carefully crafted film" Roger Ebert, Chicago
"A fun family fright flick" Total Sci-Fi
"Full of wonderfully twisted visions" The Onion
"The best anti-Christmas Christmas film since Bad Santa" Village
"Eighties-vintage Joe Dante and Spielberg are the reference points for Finnish
Director Jalmari Helander ****" Total Film
"One of the best (and most brutal) festive kid's films in years" Little