Two brothers in their seventies, Pa and Moe, have lived together all their lives in a little house in the country, the only interruption being when Pa made a weekend trip to Småland on his ... See full summary »
This drama centers on Hank Chinaski, the fictional alter-ego of "Factotum" author Charles Bukowski, who wanders around Los Angeles, CA trying to live off jobs which don't interfere with his primary interest, which is writing. Along the way, he fends off the distractions offered by women, drinking and gambling.
Almar is stranded on the shore of an island in the Mediterranian sea, when his ship leaves without him. There he befriends the somewhat dodgy vagabond Windy, and falls in love for the first time, in the local young girl, Marta.
Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after; a dream job in a charming independent cinema by the seaside and a ... See full summary »
Following a prologue set in war-torn former Yugoslavia, the film follows several different Christmas celebrations in the small Norwegian town of Skogli. Paul is a thirty-three-year-old laborer who marches into his doctor's office demanding a prescription, then proceeds to lay bare all his woes. The doctor is beleaguered by his own marital and financial difficulties (he's left his upset wife to work emergency calls on Christmas Eve). There's also an elderly man preparing an esoteric ritual, a vagrant who runs into an old flame, a middle-aged couple in the throes of passion, a boy hopelessly in love with his Muslim neighbor and a young émigré couple whose car breaks down as the woman goes into labor.Written by
A grown-up holiday movie in unmistakable Scandinavian style
I love this film and consider it a modern Christmas classic. It has many of the elements of a traditional Christmas story – a couple welcoming a newborn in the what amounts to a stable, meaningful signs in the sky, touching and sad family scenes – as well as Bent Hamer's unmistakable wry, Norwegian sense of humour. Certain scenes made me laugh out loud while my husband thought my reaction was odd. I guess you either get his jokes or you don't. Personally, I find all of Hamer's films funny in a droll way. While the opening scene is particularly bleak, don't be deterred. The story quickly changes time and place.
The film gives you a Christmas Eve peek into the lives and relationships of several individuals and couples, young and old, in a small Norwegian town. You see how modernity and tradition live side by side in a peaceful and practical way, reflective of Norway's down to earth cultural maturity.
I thought all of the actors were quite good and well-cast in their roles. There are as many sad endings as happy ones for the characters in this film, so it's a far more realistic interpretation of a Christmas story than "It's a Wonderful Life".
I enjoy Scandinavian films in general and Bent Hamer's films in particular. If you liked "O'Horton" and "Kitchen Stories" this is probably your kind of Christmas film. It was difficult to find a copy of "Hjem til jul", I had to buy a copy of it on Ebay from someone in the Philippines. I'm sure it had decent distribution in Europe, but good luck finding it in North America. No one's seeding it on Torrentz. Still, if you're a Hamer fan, it's well worth the hunt. Now, if only I could find "Eggs"
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