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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 14:29
Director: Jalmari Helander
Cast: Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Per Christian Ellefsen, Tommi Korpela, Rauno Juvonen
Certificate: 15

People in Finland are weird. They live in small houses in the middle of the mountains and chop up pigs for a living. Then, when footprints appear on their rooftop and dead bodies turn up, the children automatically presume it's Santa Claus.

At least, that's what little Pietari (Tommila) thinks. He's a good boy, who gets grounded by his protective beardy dad for no real reason. All he wants to do is throw some snowballs and look at the team digging up Santa, who's buried under a nearby mountain.

Then, a violent old man with no clothes on turns up on their land. The villagers grab their shotguns, naked grandpa gets locked in the shed, and Pietari is left out in the cold trying to get in. Talk about bad parenting. It's not hard to guess what would happen if these people went on Jeremy Kyle: Jeremy would get hacked to bits by a psychotic Kris Kringle. Suck on that, Coca Cola.

Yes, that's what St Nick is like in Jalmari Helander's weird fairytale take on the jolly season. Shot with an eye for dark humour and shiny landscapes, it's a surprisingly unique affair; a twisted Christmas treat which avoids a retread of Tim Burton territory.

It helps that half of it is subtitled, but the tension needs no translation. You'll laugh at the sight of old men running free through the wild snowy hills, their balls blown to bits by blizzards, but when the bloody horror makes you jump, you realise just how terrific the whole macabre thing is.


77 minutes of beards, children and bare-bottomed pensioners. Rare Exports is an unusual film from a freaky country. Excellent.


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  • christmas
  • finland
  • jalmari helander
  • jorma tommila
  • onni tommila
  • per christian ellefsen
  • rare exports
  • rauno juvonen
  • santa claus
  • tim burton
  • tommi korpela