Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

A scene from RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE, a film by Jalmari Helander. Picture courtesy Oscilloscope Laboratories. All rights reserved.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

Also Known As: Rare Exports

Opened: 12/03/2010 IFC Center in NYC; expands nationwide starting 12/10

Theater Listing12/03/2010
IFC Center12/03/2010 - 12/28/201026 days
Sunset 5/LA12/10/2010 - 01/06/201128 days
Kendall Square...12/22/2010 - 01/06/201116 days
Laemmle's Play...12/24/2010 - 01/13/201121 days
Music Box Thea...12/24/2010 - 01/08/201116 days
Cinema Village...12/31/2010 - 01/06/20117 days
Hollywood Thea...01/01/2011 - 01/06/20116 days
Laemmle's Moni...01/07/2011 - 01/13/20117 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Facebook

Genre: Finnish Fantasy

Rated: Unrated


It's the eve of Christmas in northern Finland, and an 'archeological' dig has just unearthed the real Santa Claus. But this particular Santa isn't the one you want coming to town. When the local children begin mysteriously disappearing, young Pietari and his father Rauno, a reindeer hunter by trade, capture the mythological being and attempt to sell Santa to the misguided leader of the multinational corporation sponsoring the dig. Santa's elves, however, will stop at nothing to free their fearless leader from captivity. What ensues is a wildly humorous nightmare -- a fantastically bizarre polemic on modern day morality.

RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE is a re-imagining of the most classic of all childhood fantasies, and is a darkly comic gem soon to be required perennial holiday viewing.

Director's Statement

Our goal was to make a new kind of Christmas tale. In this tale there is no flying on a sleigh or sucking on peppermint bars, even though there is Santa Claus in the story. No. The idea was to make a fantasy film about the real and original Finnish Santa Claus, not his modern travesty that is already too familiar to everyone.

The events happen mainly in a bankrupted reindeer slaughterhouse. The father of a little boy is struggling to keep the family business going. Their way of living is dying and it seems there is nothing they can do about it. Because of that he has no time for his son and he does not realize how scared the boy is. But this Christmas holds a surprise for them all. A chain of peculiar events will even save the family business.

I wanted to handle great events in small circles and create fantasy with a realistic approach. Even though the everyday life in the film is slightly emphasized or stylized, the thought behind it is that this could really happen. We do not need computer generated special characters or wondrous fairy tale worlds. What we need is a scary looking old man and an old reindeer slaughterhouse.

The feel of the film is isolated. A small community rests in the shadow of huge mountains and in the middle of large open spaces. I wanted to show how small the people really are against nature and the ancient creatures that have been here far longer than us. In this film normal people are caught in the middle of supernatural events. Still, there is also a comedy side of the style. After all we are dealing with Santa, not space aliens.

It is peculiar that no one has taken up this subject matter before. It feels like no one has even thought about what the real Santa Claus might have been like. What did the notorious Yule Goat that used to go from house to house in the old days represent, and why were Christmas and Santa Claus forced into the complete opposite of their roots? The horned creature that used to bring twigs to children is now a chubby, red-coated every child's best friend.

Still, after all of this, children still seem to be afraid of Santa Claus and wait for him with anxiety. They have the same feelings about spiders and snakes. It's called the self-preservation instinct.

Jalmari Helander, author/director