FANTASY; 1hr 20min
STARRING: Jorma Tommila, Onni Tommila
Hidden depths: from left, Jorma Tommila and Onni Tommila
Twenty-four days before Christmas, way down deep beneath Finland’s Korvatunturi Mountains, a group of American miners make an otherworldly discovery. Being a little boy of firm conviction, Pietari (Onni Tommila), whose bare-bones family cabin and adjoining reindeer slaughterhouse sit at the mountain base, is convinced the unearthed object is Santa’s remains. The snowbound Finnish countryside is isolating and bitterly cold, and to carve an existence from it takes gutsy resolve. With his mother dead and his father, butcher Rauno (Jorma Tommila), brusque and preoccupied, Pietari needs something to believe in, even if “the real” Santa revealed by his research was a fearsome bully.
So what force of nature have the miners let loose from the centre of Earth? Every freakish extreme is possible in the loony landscape extended from writer-director Jalmari Helander’s sensational YouTube short films, with a grotesquerie of jolly old Mr Claus and his winsome elves into the bargain. This could well be the most strangely inspired Christmas story you’re ever likely to experience.