Christmas Eve: a day in waiting?

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.


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