The image of Santa as a jolly and eternally generous fellow is the most popular conception of the holiday figure, but there have been other accounts of his character and intentions. The Finnish film Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale revives a folk image of him not as a spirit that rewards good behavior but as a wicked old man who spies on children and seeks to punish those on the naughty list.
An avenging Santa would not be welcome long, and in this film, previous generations dealt with St. Nick by capturing and imprisoning him. In the vein of a horror thriller like Alien, the action begins when a team of corporate prospectors digs deep into what looks like a mountainous burial tomb and finds a mysterious block of ice. It's young Pietari (Onni Tommila) who first realizes Christmas is different in his village: Children are disappearing and someone is spying on him. He tries to warn his father, but men in the area are more concerned with who's poaching the local herds of reindeer.
It's an original and often humorous alternative take on Christmas. Tickets $7 general admission, $6 students/seniors, $5 Zeitgeist members. — Will Coviello
Opens Dec. 25
7:30 p.m. Saturday-Monday; through Jan. 4
Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 827-5858; www.zeitgeistinc.net