Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Fine festive Finnish film
Kind-hearted. Fat. Jolly. These are words that pop into most people’s minds when they think of world-famous Christmas celebrity Santa Claus. You know what words don’t usually pop into people’s minds when they think of Ol’ Saint Nick? Decrepit. Bloodthirsty. Nude. Well, the Santa Claus depicted in Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale will have you thinking all of these things the next time you hear “Ho, ho, ho.”
Rare Exports is a terrific Finnish-language film that is sure to make its way into your yearly holiday viewing rotation. As the movie opens, we learn that an excavation is taking place. This dig does not unearth something useless such as minerals, or even dinosaur bones. It is something far more spectacular: the grave of Santa Claus! Now, most graves contain deceased individuals in them, but not this one. Santa is alive and well. Alive, anyways.
The chief occupation of the village that this excavation takes place in appears to be reindeer hunting. So when someone beats them to the punch, the villagers are none too happy. The hunters assume the excavation team is behind the slaughter of their reindeer and plan to demand payment. That is when they first meet Santa Claus. He is old, he is evil and he is naked. I believe this is the first time a nude Santa has been seen in a motion picture, although to be honest I never did make it all the way through Miracle on 34th Street.
So instead of asking for restitution in the sum of $85,000 for their lost income, the hunters decide to capture Santa and demand a much larger sum. There is just one thing that is going to stand in their way: elves. But these are not the cute, cuddly elves that have been depicted by the likes of Will Ferrell and Dudley Moore. These are old, demented and, yes, nude Santa’s helpers. Thank goodness this film was not in 3D, as 50 elf penises coming right at me might forever turn me off Christmas.
Rare Exports is the greatest (and possibly only) export to come from Finland since NHL superstar Teemu Selanne. This Nordic film is a joy from start to Finnish. On a side note, I will be bringing my children to see Santa Claus at the mall this weekend. Hopefully I’ll return next week with another Christmas movie review, but if I do not make it back alive from meeting this possibly murderous fellow, I’ll just say that it has been a pleasure writing for this publication over these many years. And I pray that he is clothed.