Rare Exports... strange name for a Santa movie... took a long time before the connection is revealed. This is a Finnish movie, lots of subtitles, which make it a difficult kids movie. But it is the best Santa movie ever, and appropriate for kids (after all, the hero of the movie is about 10 years old, and a cute little dickens...).
We went to the opening on Christmas day, and what a fun present. It's hard to review this movie, since the ending is so hilarious that I don't want to reveal anything, except to say all the strange and weird elements of the movie finally come together.
Stark, wintery landscapes (some of them visually stunning). Reindeer ranchers, archeologists, corporate exploiters, hockey outfits, zombie elves, creepy Santas, child abductions, ancient woodcuts, and other inexplicable elements combine in this rather bizarre interpretation of holiday happenings.
OK, OK, too weird? Well, there is humor, especially the end (almost a shaggy dog story). One important thing to know... many Santa myths (Finnish?) from long ago describe Santa as mean... often punishing children rather than gifting them (check out the woodcuts flashing in the movie). This whole interpretation of "Santa" is worth more exploration. Here's a Finnish term from the pagan origins of Santa:
"Joulupukki means 'Yule Buck'. Joulupukki first came about as an evil, goat-like creature. He didn't give gifts to the children and he demanded their good behavior. He used to frighten people. In December, pagan people had big festivals to ward off the Joulupukki."
Admittedly, I was a little bored and lost during the first half of the movie. I suspect this was deliberate, to increase the impact of the ending (although, what did they do with the giant "buck" horns?). But if you check out this movie (hurry, it won't be around long and may be difficult to find in a theater near your), and obey the following safety rules, you'll be rewarded with a great Christmas treat.