Film spotlight: "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale"

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 13, 2012 - 3:10 PM
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"Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale"

RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE

This Finnish film (★★ out of four stars) offers a welcome counterweight to the usual yuletide sentimentality. Pietari, a plucky Lapland preteen, spies on a mining outfit excavating a giant Kris Kringle-shaped burial mound near his remote home. He reads up on the original Sami folk tales about the old guy; it's not a pretty picture. "Coca-Cola Santa's a hoax," he warns his skeptical pal. "The real Santa spanks kids to pieces. Not even their skeletons survive." Meanwhile his dad, a reindeer hunter with a struggling slaughterhouse business, digs a spike-lined pit to trap the creature that has been gutting his stock. Could there be a connection? And who's stealing all the village's radiators? The film is bracingly suspenseful, packed with perverse humor and great to look at, with an icebound, rundown production design reminiscent of John Carpenter's "The Thing." Real-life father and son Jorma and Onni Tommila have a great chemistry in the lead roles, while Peeter Jakobi is a malevolent wonder as a silent, mysterious old codger. The finale is a riotous affair that must set a world's record for geriatric male nudity. Even as you view it you can't believe what you're seeing. (Rated R for some nudity and language. In subtitled Finnish and English. 7 & 9 p.m. Mon-Tue., $8, Trylon Microcinema, 3258 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls.)

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