Friday, 25 February 2011

Xmas Fear From Finland ...

Rare Exports
(2010 Finland / Norway / France / Sweden)

‘‘The real Santa was a bit different, the Coca Cola Santa is a fraud’’

Jingle bells Santa smells, his body rotting away, Rudolph’s left and the elves bereft, since Santa got buried, along with his sleigh … but now he’s been dug up, and this Christmas ‘Yule’ all pay !.

A festive frivolity of fearsome Christmas chills from Finland as the legend of yore in the shape of the original Santa Claus returns. Old books tell of the terrible tales of Santa as a child beating ogre. A young boy named Pietan is sure that on the eve of Christmas day this terrible Santa is coming to town !.

A business man has a professional drill team excavating the Korvatunturi mountain in Finland. They drill down thirteen hundred feet and hit a sixty five foot thick embodiment of sawdust !. It is here that legend has it that the Saami people of Lapland centuries before created the biggest burial mound in the world. Imprisoned within the mountain burial mound it is said is this evil and original Santa Claus !.

Christmas eve, and in the valley afoot the mountain the local farmers prepare their annual round up of the indigenous reindeer. A major part of their continued resource to survive with the lifestyle they are dependant upon in the region. Disaster awaits them this day, however, as the valley beneath the mountain is strewn with the dead carcass’s of the reindeer !.

With their livelihood’s severely jeopardised by the discovery several of the locals traverse up the mountain to seek answers from the team of foreigners. What they discover is a derelict site, no sign of life at all, and one massive hole burrowing down deep within the mountain. Something was discovered, disturbed and released from its entombment !.

That very night Pietan’s father’s wolf pit trap claims an inquisitive catch. Early in the morning the impaled body of a still twitching spindly old bearded man is retrieved. With the help of a neighbour the man is watched over in the slaughter house barn of the farmer. Pietan believes that his father has captured Santa. The boy has also discovered that all of the towns children have mysteriously gone missing. Upon seeing Pietan the old man reacts curiously and visibly appears to be recuperating from his life threatening injuries. Whoever, or whatever this old man is becomes cause for great concern.

Pietan’s father, along with two friends manage to contact the business man and set up a trade for ‘Santa’ in payment for their combined losses with the slaughter of their reindeer herd. The exchange is set up, but it is within the hour before Christmas day itself, and what the anxious men have in their possession turns out to be not quite what they had expected after all, and the worst was about to befall them all !.

Time to measure whether they have been naughty or nice and come to fully realise just how many little helpers Santa actually has, particularly in his hour of need !.

All aboard then for a winters tale of terror. A fine slice of darkly delicious Finnish humour that is sure to ‘sleigh’ you. Big fun from an independent venture that stands more than a snowballs chance in hell at sitting atop the tree of film goodness. A wickedly wry take on the twisted tale of ye old Santa, torn straight from the stuff of childhood nightmares. The cinematography of the beautiful white snow laden environment is spectacular, and the stark landscape and insular people make the unleashing of a fearful apparition all the more believable. Very well rendered effects and a straight laced cast of real people more than compliment this accomplished feature. Santa’s entourage of elves never looked so evil.

Rounded up, and rounded off, come completion, the movie’s vein of deliciously dark humour spills on over into an aptly wry epilogue. A perfectly applicable manner for such Rare Exports to, ‘Finnish’.

Movie Rating: 7/10

Review by Paul Cooke

Rare Exports (2010)

Director Jalmari Helander
With Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Tommi Korpela,
Rauno Juvonen, Per Christian Ellefsen,
Ilmari Järvenpää & Peeter Jakobi

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