12 Films of Christmas: Rare Exports - A Christmas Tale | Film reviews, news & interviews
12 Films of Christmas: Rare Exports - A Christmas Tale
Fabulous Finnish excavation into the dark heart of Christmas
The Scandinavian countries can duke it out amongst themselves as to which of them Santa Claus is from, but this Finnish claim for being the whiskery fellow’s true home neither makes you want to enter his grotto or sit on his knee. A bizarre and wonderful fantasy, Rare Exports nods to old northern Europe’s Saint Nicholas, the mythical figure meting out punishment to children rather than doling out presents. This is a Santa Claus to be avoided at all costs. And unlike the traditional Saint Nicholas, he’s after all children not just the naughty ones.
Set in the far north-east of Finland in Lapland amongst a reindeer-herding community, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale focuses on Korvatunturi, a highland on the border with Russia. According to Finnish national broadcaster Yle, Korvatunturi is where Santa Claus lives and can be written to. Explosions are heard on the mountain and local kid Pietari (Onni Tommila, pictured right) sneaks up there to find out what’s going on. Foreigners, supposedly scientists, are blasting the rock trying to get into what they think is a burial mound. Something is killing reindeer and household objects are vanishing. The fragile economy of this isolated place is threatened. Bit-by-bit, it emerges that the deeply buried home of Santa Claus is being disturbed and what’s coming is going to be terrible, and utterly unlike anything in any Christmas film. Ever.
This fabulous film is horrific, heart-warming and original. Sure, there are template characters but the context and twisted story make Rare Exports utterly fresh. There's even a happy ending which, like the rest of the film, is totally unpredictable. Rare Exports is more than an antidote to the sweet fare of Christmas. It’s magical at any time of year.
Watch the trailer for Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning turn lifts largely pedestrian film
Passion hits the brick wall of decency in Fei Mu's 1948 masterpiece
New York's latest multi-hyphenate on making sense of her place in the world
The Swedish-born doctor's daughter on her rapid rise from 'Kill List' and 'Twilight' to 'Downton', 'Ripper Street' and Jimmy McGovern's 'Banished'
Gay Brooklyn dramedy memorably mixes great humour with uneasy search for identity
The expats are back in that rare sequel that betters its predecessor
Superlative performances in Mike Leigh's ravishingly filmed hyper-biopic
Hungarian allegory on racism and the rise of the far right fails to cohere
Smart, striking horror starring Maika Monroe and directed by David Robert Mitchell
Marlon Brando bombs in ludicrous Michael Winner-directed prequel to 'The Turn of the Screw'
Flattest ceremony in years honours 'Birdman', Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore
One woman's kink is another woman's poison in Peter Strickland's bracing erotic romance