The way its painted on the Big Screen, you’d almost think that Christmas Eve was the Big Day. It’s when things happen.
It’s Kim Basinger in a scarlet and fur-edged cloak setting off bullish cop, Russell Crowe’s curiosity in L.A Confidential. It’s the date of the semi-ghost story Festen director, a captivating Thomas Vinterberg tells on the dvd extra, The disclosure of Festen. And it’s the ghostly visitations to Scrooge in any one of 30-plus movie A Christmas Carols. Or Doris Day waiting to tell morose husband, Barney (Frank Sinatra) at midnight that she is pregnant, except he attempts suicide by driving full throttle in a white-out in the meantime in Young At Heart in Bridget Jones’ Diary, we learn that Christmas Eve is the horror of a day Mark Darcy discovers his Japanese wife having an affair with his one-time Best Man (Hugh Grant). It is the courage, hope, steel – and, unbeknownst tragedy in Polish officers in a Russian POW camp celebrating Christmas and singing carols from home in Katyn.
In the circumstances, Christmas Day itself feels like an anti-climax. But Christmas Eve is the drama, the expectancy, the storm before the calm, the birth of Christmas Day when ends are tied up, the going-without-saying. In so many films, it is the culmination, and if not the culmination, the day when things begin to turn right, as in Frozen River. Christmas Day is seen to be a sign on screen that All Manner of Things Shall Be Made Well.
A Merry Christmas to you all.
I will return for Boxing Day and be writing up to Epiphany on January 6th when the decorations come down. And after that, I’ve news of a new project.