[9 November 2011]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
With it’s released on DVD and Blu-ray, Jalmari Helander’s brilliant Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is poised to become the new cool Yule for anyone sick of the standard syrupy holiday fare. It’s one of the best reinvention of the season ever. PopMatters had a chance to ask the director a few questions about his film, and as with his masterful way behind the lens, he didn’t waste a moment. While short (and definitely sweet), his responses argue for a lover of novel, the nasty, and all things Noel.
PopMatters: Aside from the obvious sources, what were some of your personal inspirations in making this film?
Jalmari Helander: I wanted to do a story of an unlikely hero. There is lot of me in the story of Pietari. I wanted to show everyone that I can make a movie although I was not accepted in any film school in Finland. Hahahha!
PM: Did some of the holiday themed horror films inspire you?
PM: Why not show ‘Santa’?
Helander: There were a lot of reasons. First of all I not wanted Rare Exports to be a “monsterfilm”. I did not even know how it would look. And also the budget. It would be totally different film if the Real Santa would be in the film.
PM: What were some of your other influences - visually, storytelling wise, etc.?
Helander: I like stories were weird and big things are happening in “normal” family environment. Movies like E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Signs. Visually maybe The Thing was always in my mind.
PM: In the end, do you think the film is pro-Christmas, or anti-Christmas?
It is a Christmas film. It is about a real Christmas. It is about a family and real things. Not all the candy bar and decorations. I love Christmas!