Whatever our set of beliefs, most of us sooner or later unite in the same celebratory pursuit on Christmas Day: the watching of movies. Going out to the theater to catch a holiday-season blockbuster or two after you’ve opened your presents (or after other people have finished opening their presents) has become a kind of tradition in itself, and enough of a tradition to permit variations. Maybe you’d rather use film to free yourself of the burdens of the Christmas season, going instead to the art house and catching the least commercial film possible in this increasingly commercial time of the year.
But even if you stick with the auteurs, you can’t get away from Christmas entirely. A couple Christmases ago, “The Auteurs of Christmas” shot a series of versions of this most anticipated morning in the style of directors Steven Spielberg, Sergei Eisenstein, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, Lars von Trier, Martin Scorsese, Michael Moore, Stanley Kubrick, Werner Herzog, and Baz Luhrmann.
More recently, the follow-up above expanded the project to envision Christmas as envisioned by Charlie Chaplin, Quentin Tarantino, Terrence Malick, Christopher Nolan, Jean-Luc Godard, Alfred Hitchcock, Morgan Spurlock, David Lynch, M. Night Shyamalan, and Michael Bay.
But just as the conclusion of one year’s Christmas can simply get you looking forward to the next year’s, so these two super-homages make you think about the possible auteurs for inclusion in a third: what would Yasujirō Ozu’s Christmas morning look like, shot just a couple feet off the tatami mat? Or Chantal Akerman’s, which, for proper pacing, might require a whole video by itself? Or a Coen Brothers Christmas? Gaspar Noé’s? Truly, this holiday keeps on giving.
Watch Terry Gilliam’s Animated Short, The Christmas Card (1968)
An Animated Christmas Fable by Maurice Sendak (1977)
William S. Burroughs Narrates a Claymation of His Grim Holiday Story “The Junky’s Christmas”
A Christmas Carol Presented in a Thomas Edison Film (1910)
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.
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