To kick off the Holiday Season the right way, I logged on to Kanopy to watch Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a decidedly darker spin on traditional Santa Claus lore. The setting is a remote Finnish village, where a recent excavation expedition in the nearby mountains has awakened something ancient and sinister: the original Kris Kringle. But this is a far cry from the fat, jolly old elf popularized by the Coca-Cola Company; this version of the character has more than a bit of Krampus in his DNA, kidnapping naughty boys and girls and whipping their bottoms until the flesh peels off.
It sounds like the prefect film for the Grinches in your family (especially once turns into a satire on commercialization—after the local parents manage to kidnap the monstrous Saint Nick, they immediately try to figure out how to monetize their discovery)… but in fact, it beautifully embodies the true spirit of Christmas. After all, the protagonist is a young believer that hasn’t yet lost his ability to see magic in the world, while the adults around him flounder ineffectually to find a rational explanation for their supernatural plight. Thus, Rare Exports is a stocking absolutely stuffed with cinematic delights: mystery, horror, fantasy, adventure… and a childlike sense of wonder that’ll warm even the smallest and coldest of hearts.