Broke, jobless and chronically depressed Keri (David Hornblow) returns home for Christmas with his family, a dysfunctional and desperate lot, living in a suburban vacuum of an existence. As Christmas draws near, they don't.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Gregory King's Christmas has all the hallmarks of a filmmaker whose role model is Mike Leigh; the working class setting, the friction of life agitated by circumstance, the flat-lined humanity as the characters struggle with life, with each other and with themselves.
Disturbingly credible, Christmas is a refined taste - refined almost to the point of self mutilation, but the rewards are exceptional ensemble work and a haunting sense of the human condition throbbing in pain beneath the surface ... which is red raw from it. Behind those pained eyes are pained souls. No wonder it's credible: a raging drug habit saw David Hornblow wake up with $1.80 in his cheque account and the realisation he had to come back to New Zealand to clean up. "I was incredibly scared going for the role. I was still using," says Hornblow about auditioning for the lead role.
According to Hornblow, the Kiwi family featured in Christmas "are incredibly unlike my family. But it was really healthy to be able to play that person, have a bit of a yell. It was an incredibly emotional set, a really good energy."
This debut feature from Gregory King, now based in Berlin, has played at film festivals including Edinburgh, Toronto and Melbourne.
June 23, 2005
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CHRISTMAS: DVD (MA)
CAST: Darien Takle, David Hornblow, Helen Pearse, Otene, Matthew Sunderland, Tony Waerea, Kate Sullivan, Czahn Armstrong, Milo Cawthorne, Charlotte Palmer
PRODUCER: Leanne Saunders
DIRECTOR: Gregory King
SCRIPT: Gregory King
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Virginia Loane
EDITOR: Campbell Walker
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carline Faigan
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Arkles Ent
DVD RELEASE: April 21, 2005