Blue Christmas: A Criterion Video Essay

Where have all the Fezziwigs gone? Those festive souls whose joyfully uncomplicated relationship to Christmas inspires generosity and the highest of spirits?

You won’t find them in Blue Christmas, film writer Michael Koresky’s supercut of the bleakest holiday moments in the Criterion Collection and beyond.

The factors leading to the seasonal malaise documented above are far less easy to identify than the singular complaint of the famous song Koresky borrows for the title of his video essay.

A simple reunion would have fixed Elvis’s Christmas blues.

Not so the characters played by Catherine Deneuve, Angelica Huston, and other lovely, aging actresses gazing mournfully in this mash up. Large families, sumptuous tables, and lavishly decorated homes are no match for their seasonal depression.

Perhaps they should try volunteering in a soup kitchen.

Or getting away from it all in the French Canadian asbestos mining town that provides the setting for Claude Jutra’s Mon oncle Antoine. (Nothing like a child-sized coffin and some realistically grimy, non-fake snow to make you count your blessings!)

A complete list of the films selected by Koresky for this misery-loves-company compilation is below.  (Kudos to producer Casey Moore for his masterful editing.)


Fanny and Alexander 


Mon oncle Antoine

My Night at Maud’s 

A Christmas Tale

Black Narcissus

A Christmas Carol (1971)

A Christmas Carol (1984)

The Curse of the Cat People

Scrooge (1935)

Scrooge (1951)

The Dead

Dead of Night

Black Christmas

Eyes Wide Shut

Meet Me in St. Louis

It’s a Wonderful Life

All That Heaven Allows

The Long Day Closes

Blast of Silence

For those who would not have masterpieces of cinema raining upon their Christmas parade, the Matinee’s antic Christmas Movie Supercut is above. Are we surprised that Gremlins made both lists?

Related Content:

Neil Gaiman’s Dark Christmas Poem Animated

The Junky’s Christmas: William S. Burrough’s Dark Claymation Christmas Film Produced by Francis Ford Coppola (1993)

Salvador Dalí’s Avant-Garde Christmas Cards

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. I Can Haz Eggnog with That is her Christmas present to all Spotify listeners’ ears. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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  • Alex says:

    Lovey article. One point of contention. The Dr. Who theme was not created using a Theremin. Delia Darbeshire created it by setting oscillators tuned to the right frequencies in a pre synthesizer BBC 1 Radiophonic workshop environment.

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