Christmas is just a couple of days away. Hopefully, you’ve completed your shopping and will be able to survive the onslaught of family and friends you will be forced to endure. For my part, it will be a relatively quiet day and a bit different than Yuletide’s past but that’s okay. I’m a grown man. I can deal.
That said, I wanted to give my faithful readers a little bit of a gift. Now, I can’t personalize something for everyone. I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. But, I can give you this nice treat of a Finnish film that in my single man, single cat household has become a holiday tradition.
In the shadow of a great mountain being torn apart by a corporate sponsored archeological dig, a Finnish village sits in idyllic peace. On the outskirts of town, a young boy, Pietari, has a strained relationship with his father, Rauno. The mother has passed away and Rauno is stressed with the responsibility of supporting and providing for the precocious child. It doesn’t help that Christmas is just days away.
The locals rely on the local reindeer herd to provide meat which they can sell for income throughout the year. On the day of the hunt, they gather together but are shocked to find the herd has already been slaughtered and the meat has gone bad.
Wolves are blamed for the Rudolph massacre, most likely coming through a hole in a fence between the dig and the town. The little boy feels guilty knowing he was responsible for the hole as a result of an earlier visit when he and friend were spying on the excavating at the mountain. It is going to be a very sad holiday.
Strange things continue to occur around town. Heaters and furnaces are being stolen from homes. Children are going missing. Pietari finds strange footprints in the snow on the roof outside his upstairs window. And then, there’s the strange almost feral injured man he and his father discover in their wolf trap.
The man has a long, white beard and an affinity for gingerbread cookies. His arrival will set into motion a series of events that will see a band of friends gather together to protect their town and cause a father and son to reevaluate their relationship.
Fair warning to those of you who are parents. The movie is rated R. There’s a good amount of cursing and some Santa junk in this flick so you might want to check it out at least once before letting any little kiddos watch it. Your call. For us grown ups, what you’ll find is a hell of a tale with a darkly humorous but strangely uplifting ending.
This little Christmas miracle carries with it my highest recommendation!
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is available right now on Netflix Instant Viewing. It might be dubbed or it might be subtitled. Don’t let that deter you, though. You shouldn’t be afraid to read your movies!