Watch on Cineuropa: A collection of unmissable Christmas flicks
- As 2021 comes to an end, Cineuropa and Eyelet present a curated selection of eight European indie gems set around Christmas time
2021 is coming to an end, and it’s now time to relax, eat some nice comfort food and – why not? – enjoy the company of a great movie. Here, we present a curated selection of eight European features (for rent and for sale) set around Christmas time to warm your heart and gift you a whirlwind of emotions.
These titles are brought to you in partnership with eyelet, a streaming platform designed to give cinephiles around the world access to the very best in independent cinema. We are now able to showcase films we’ve been reviewing over the last few years – titles you can stream and read about on Cineuropa. Stay tuned for the new flicks coming your way soon!
Jalmari Helander’s award-winning fantasy-horror tale begins one Christmas Eve in Northern Finland. There, an archaeological dig has just unearthed the real Santa Claus. But this Santa isn’t the gentle, old man bringing gifts and joy to families around the world. When local children start mysteriously disappearing, young Pietari and his father, Rauno, a reindeer hunter, capture Santa and attempt to sell him 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.
One night, a burglar in a Santa Claus costume is surprised by Victor, a young boy who believes he is the real Father Christmas. Victor then follows him, and they embark on an unexpected adventure that will change their entire lives. This the premise of Alexandre Coffre’s fun comedy, starring Tahar Rahim and young Victor Cabal in the lead roles. A fresh, great alternative to the ever-present 1990s Home Alone trilogy.
“It’s refreshing to see a film that revolves around Christmas and yet doesn’t really care about what it entails at all, as far from the likes of Love Actually [+see also:
film profile] as possible,” wrote Cineuropa critic Marta Bałaga in her review of Echo. This is indeed the nature of Rúnar Rúnarsson’s cinematic experiment, a Christmas movie like no other. Through 56 independent scenes, Rúnarsson draws a portrait, both biting and tender, of modern-day Iceland during this often turbulent but also exciting time of the year.
Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s play Coriolanus, Ben Wheatley’s critically acclaimed, dysfunctional family dramedy follows Colin (Neil Maskell), who has rented a stately home in the country for his extended family’s New Year celebrations. He’s the centre of attention until his estranged brother David (Sam Riley) unexpectedly arrives, throwing the family dynamic way out of kilter.
A heart-warming tale about homelessness at Christmas, Jake Gavin’s Hector follows the title character (played by Peter Mullan), who has been living on the motorways for years. His once comfortable family life has been replaced by a never-ending tour of service stations that offer him shelter, anonymity, washing facilities and food. We follow Hector’s journey south from Scotland on his annual pilgrimage to a temporary Christmas shelter in London, where he finds comfort, friendship and warmth. Meanwhile, he decides to reconnect with his long-estranged past.
As in the previous two titles, the lead character in Piotr Domalewski’s brilliant debut needs to confront his past. The story of Silent Night follows Adam (Dawid Ogrodnik), who comes home from his job in the Netherlands for Christmas, armed with euro notes, a small digital camera and a sonogram of his unborn baby. He returns only for one day, but his agenda is full to the gills and will be revealed slowly as the plot progresses. Adam meets his relatives, who seem to be stuck in the gloomy setting of rural Poland. He, on the other hand, wants to leave the country and start a new life together with his pregnant girlfriend. Will Adam be able to exorcise the demons of his past, or will they haunt him forever?
Eirik Svensson’s drama centres on Vilde (Ines Høysæter Asserson), a blue-haired teenage girl who has only one goal in her young life: to leave sad, grey Oslo for Tokyo, the city of her dreams. Dropping out of school and hanging out with her friends, she chooses to live in her fantasies. On Christmas Eve, social services come to the train station where she stays all day and bring her back to reality: something has happened to her mother, so she has to contact her father, the man she hasn’t seen in 15 years.
Alain Chabat’s family-friendly flick is a must-see melancholic, feel-good (but not too much!) Christmas comedy. In it, 92,000 elves all become sick at the same time. It’s a tough moment for Santa, who’s left with no choice: he must make an emergency trip to Earth with his reindeer to search for a cure. When he arrives, he must find some allies to save the magic of Christmas.
Discover new titles from Cineuropa and Eyelet here: cineuropa.eyelet.com
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