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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