Feliz navidad! С Рождеством! Buon natale! et Joyeux Noël!
After a few mince pies and glasses of mulled wine we’ve come up with our top 5 foreign Xmas films:
1. Plácido (Placido, Luis García Berlanga, 1961)
Christmas has often been a period that inspires us to consider those less fortunate, an idea that Plácido both commends and satirises. A community of old women commit to sit a homeless or infirm person at their table on Christmas eve, producing a touching as well as farcically funny results in this classic Spanish Christmas film. Read more on eyeforfilm.co.uk
2. Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром! (The Irony of Fate, Eldar Ryazanov, 1976)
Described as the Soviet equivalent of It’s a Wonderful Life, this is the Christmas film (originally a mini-series) that Russians tune into every year. While it could be described as a Rom-com, The Irony of Fate adds a few typically Russian twists, such as a tragi-comic approach to the festive season and copious amounts of on-screen drinking.
3. Parenti serpenti (Poisonous Relations, Mario Monicelli, 1992)
While being one of the definitive Italian Christmas films, Parenti serpenti is infinitely relatable for anyone who spends the holidays with their relatives. Festive, darkly humorous, and thoroughly underrated outside of Italy, this is one of our top picks for the holidays.
4. Single Bells (Xaver Schwarzenberger, 1998)
Every year Austrians gather round their televisions for this black comedy, which is now approaching its 20th anniversary. Another black comedy about spending Christmas with loved ones, Single Bells might just give Parenti serpenti a run for its money!
5. Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale, Arnaud Desplechin, 2008)
Few Christmas films can boast having been screened in Cannes’ international competition, but A Christmas Tale is one of them. Featuring a stunning cast, including Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalrica and Chiara Mastroianni (daughter of Marcello Mastroianni), this film toes the line between comedy and tragedy as family relationships play out around French matriarch Junon’s (Catherine Deneuve) search for a bone marrow donor.
Those are our top picks for those looking for some slightly alternative Christmas fare! Other films that didn’t quite make the top 5 include The Night before Christmas (Russia, Ladislas Starevich, 1913), Mon Oncle Antoine (Canada, Claude Jutra, 1971), Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Finland, Aki Kaurismäki, 2010) and Pastorela (Mexico, Emilio Portes, 2011).
Which would you add?