“Helander’s direction recalls early Spielberg, resembles Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s whimsies, and has a black comedy that evokes Joe Dante’s work.” Slant Magazine
“… the best anti-Christmas Christmas movie since Bad Santa.” LA Weekly
“There have been some frightening cinematic Santas… but nothing can touch the one in this darkly humorous Finnish horror flick…” The Guardian
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a film by Finnish director Jalmari Helander, based on his award-winning shorts.
You may want to shout, you may want to cry. Santa Claus is coming to town.
In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up!
That’s the premise of Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a darkly comic sleeper hit at the Toronto International Film Festival. Based on the award-winning shorts of Finnish director Jalmari Helander, Rare Exports is rapidly becoming a cult sensation.
“Our goal was to make a new kind of Christmas tale,” says author/director Helander. “In this tale there is no flying on a sleigh or sucking on peppermint bars, even though there is a Santa Claus. 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.”
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, will have its Toronto theatrical run at The Royal, starting Friday December 17.
It’s Christmas Eve in northern Finland, and an ‘archeological’ dig has just unearthed the real Santa Claus. But this particular Santa isn’t going to be bought off with milk and cookies. When 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 satire of modern day morality.
“It is peculiar that no one has taken up this subject matter before,” notes Helander. “It feels like no one has even thought about what the real Santa Claus might have been like. What did the notorious Yule Goat that used to go from house to house in the old days represent, and why were Christmas and Santa Claus forced into the complete opposite of their roots? The horned creature that used to bring twigs to children is now a chubby, red-coated every child’s best friend.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a re-imagining of the most classic of all childhood fantasies, and is a darkly comic gem rapidly gaining status as must-see alternative holiday viewing.