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RIDM Preview - This Year for Christmas

Posted by Chip / November 11, 2006

thisyearforchristmas.jpg(image taken from RIDM website)

It’s November - early November - which for some may be too early to think Christmas. For others, like my neighbours up the street, taking down Halloween decorations goes hand in hand with erecting Christmas lights and nativity scenes.

Regardless, the timing of the RIDM and the screening of This Year for Christmas is just about right.

In this short but sweet documentary, filmmakers Ken Allaire and Martin Girard venture down to the Bronx, NY, to follow the plight of two young French Canadians mired in the middle of a Christmas tree war. Yes, you holiday cynics, that’s Christmas tree war.

Bartow, the biggest Christmas tree stand in New York, doesn’t exactly provide ideal working conditions for its imported employees (think sweatshop conditions, but outdoors), whose jobs are made that much more trying by Crazy Al –- the neighbour, and more importantly, the competition. Crazy Al has been in the Bronx for years, they’re American, they don’t like the competition, and they’re ‘rocking the Bronx’ all the way to Christmas. Our hard working protagonists are victims of Crazy Al and his staff’s hijinx that include endless loudspeaker trash talking and lot sabotage.

But just when you think the competition is becoming a bit too intense, there’s a goodwill gesture from Crazy Al that brings us back to the spirit of the season. Well, kind of, anyways. If I tell you any more, this post will become longer than the film.

And though the film is definitely enjoyable, I can’t help but wonder more about the history and purpose of the film’s main players on both sides of the fence. The characters are all so intriguing, I’m left wondering why do they do what they do, and what do they do when they’re not selling Christmas trees? Alas, that may be better left to a sequel.

So if it’s not too early for you, check out this lighthearted affair which shows Sunday, November 12th at 20h30 and Wednesday, November 15th at 21h15 at the Cinémathèque québécoise.



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