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5 Christmas classics for cinema connoisseurs

1. Fanny and Alexander, Sweden, Ingmar Bergman, 1982

Shot from “Fanny and Alexander” by Ingmar Bergman

One of my traditional Christmas movies. The film takes us to a relentless Scandinavian winter at the home of the fabulously wealthy Ekdal family in a small Swedish town. It’s Christmas Eve. Alexander Ekdal and his sister Fanny are floating in the hustle and bustle of the family holiday. Suddenly, their father Oscar had a heart attack and died. Their mother Emily hastily married Bishop Vergerus, and they became literally prisoners under his religious tyranny, especially Alexander, who was subjected to severe upbringing.

Shot from “Fanny and Alexander” by Ingmar Bergman

The children are rescued by Isaac Jacobi and take refuge in his antique shop. Soon their mother appears, drugging Vergerus so he can escape. Later, the priest was burned alive at the stake. Returning to her family, Emily gave birth to a daughter, which became an occasion for new celebrations. I recommend the original version that Bergman makes for Swedish television, not the shortened theatrical American version.

2. Mrazko, USSR, 1965, Alexander Rowe

Shot from Mrazko, USSR, 1965, Alexander Rowe

A very beautiful Russian classic tale. Soviet fantasy with forest wizards, Grandma Yaga, bear heads, cheating and love.

There was once a good and sweet girl named Nastenka. The evil stepmother forced her to work without giving her any rest. One day she decided to get rid of her stepdaughter and sent her to the forest in the winter. Ivan is a boy who lives nearby. He falls in love with Nastenka, but because he is selfish by nature, Old Borovichok turns his head into a bear’s head. Nastenka and Ivan go through many trials together, and the magician Mrazko helps them in this.

3. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, 1983, Japan, Nagisa Oshima

Starring David Bowie and Tom Conti. Set in a Japanese prison camp in 1942, the film tells the story of a Japanese man who runs the camp and his belief that British soldiers who surrender instead of committing suicide are cowards. The translator (Mr. Lawrence) tries to bridge the gap between the two cultures and the two styles of military service – patriotic and pragmatic.

Shot from Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, 1983, Japan, Nagisa Oshima

4. “Holiday Inn”, USA, 1942 Mr. Mark Sandrich

Holiday Inn, USA, 1942, Mark Sandrich

The action takes place during World War II, and the film follows a love triangle that unfolds in a hotel during the holidays. The characters of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire sing about their various upheavals in life. This is a brilliant Hollywood musical, based on an idea by Irwin Berlin, about singer and dancer Jim Hardy, who abandoned show business to become a farmer in New England.

However, his new life turned out to be too difficult and boring and prompted him to turn the farm into an entertainment club. The holiday scenes on the occasion of July 4, when Fred Astaire performed “Let s Say it with Firecrackers”, and Irwin Berlin’s song “White Christmas”, won an Oscar, remain forever in the golden fund of Hollywood.

5. “Santa Claus has blue eyes”, France, 1967, Jean Eustace

Santa Claus Has Blue Eyes, France, 1967, Jean Eustace

This is a Christmas movie of the French New Wave and you will not see the typical schematic action and roles in it. This is an independent “indie” offer for connoisseurs of good cinema, especially during the holidays, when we can afford it, because we will have more time.

Daniel needs money to buy a thick wool coat, which is currently in vogue, so he agrees to work for a photographer by dressing as Santa Claus. He finds it much easier to meet girls when you’re wearing a Santa costume.

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