Instead of the generic slew of Christmas-based films that are replayed every Yuletide, why not something a little less standard?
In place of such “classics” as The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Chevy Chases Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol (any of them), Love Actually and Home Alone 1 & 2 why not something more…creative?
Creative? Well, ask yourself: what is Christmas? Christmas is about accentuating the emotions we feel on a day-to-day basis. Any given day throughout the holiday season (from Thanksgiving through till New Years Day) will give one joy, stress, passion, apathy, good feelings and bad, to say nothing of love and hate.
Positive emotions are created: giving and receiving gifts, seeing friends and family, setting up and looking at holiday decorations. In addition, most individuals are entitled to numerous days off during this season. Surely a plus for anyone’s emotional well-being.
Negative emotions, too, run rampant: what sort of gift to buy? How much is it? Will it arrive on time? Will they like it? What happens if they don’t? Do I really want to see my family? What sort of stress will that cause? What will I have to talk about? What will they ask me? Sure I have time off, but by doing so I receive less in my paycheck? What will I do about a lack of money? Do I get a holiday job? Will that make me more tired and stressed? Indeed, it can seem as though the negatives of the season can far outweigh the positive.
So, to ignore the mainstream cinema one is often fed during December go with one of these films for a guaranteed good time.
- Ladyhawke: Romantic. Man is a wolf by night, Woman is a hawk by day and never the two shall meet. Solid and fun acting with a happy, and romantic, ending.
- Sunshine: Life-Affirming. A team of scientists must restart the sun in order to save the world from the slowly enveloping global winter. The film is set entirely in space and has a bittersweet, if visually stunning, ending.
- Naked: Nihilistic. If you are in the mood for something more dark and angsty, go with Mike Leigh’s epic about a nihilist ruffian who cares only for himself. In the movie, nobody wins…except maybe the ruffian (played by David Thewlis).
- The Cat Returns: Inspiring. An animated film from Studio Ghibli (think “Hayao Miyazaki) about living and being alive. In the end, everyone one learns something and lives happily ever after. How rare is that in a film nowadays?
- Fanny and Alexander: Thoughtful. This film actually uses two different Christmases as cinematic bookends and is as close to “Christmas-themed” as you’ll see me get. This film, about an upper middle class Swedish family, was directed by the legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and is one of my most favorite films of all time.
If you have any recommendations (or concerns over my choices) feel free to post in the comments section below!