A scene from RARE EXPORTS INC., directed by Jalmari Helander.

Rare Exports Inc. (2003, Jalmari Helander)

Rare Exports Inc. is serious, right? I mean, I get it’s a comedy, but it’s really about Santa Claus haunting and not some weird Most Dangerous Game with homeless guys thing?

Here’s the concept if it’s serious–there are these feral Fathers Christmas roaming the Finnish countryside and a corporation hunts them down and trains them to be department store Santas. Helander does a good job directing the hunt scene and Jean-Noël Mustonen’s photography is outstanding, but the training session tries too hard. It’s funny for a bit, but not for over a minute.

The problem’s the plotting–Exports is pseudo-commercial but Helander needs to hide the reveal of hunting Santa, which confuses things. The short runs over five minutes, way too long for just one good joke.

Rare Exports is fairly good filmmaking, but it’s a perfect example of concept over content. It’s just not funny enough.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Jalmari Helander; written by Jalmari Helander and Juuso Helander; director of photography, Jean-Noël Mustonen; edited by Anssi Puisto; produced by Harri Aalto; released by Woodpecker Film.

Starring Otso Tarkela (Father Christmas), Tommi Korpela (Marker), Jorma Tommila (Sniper) and Tazu Ovaska (Tracker); narrated by Jonathan Hutchings.


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