The Funeral Father Christmas By Christian Cook

Poignant and accurate about the state of today’s world

This short film that was shot completely in one location with a cast of only three children, yet it manages to tackle many issues we are all experiencing today.  In about seven minutes, the viewer gets to experience the impact of media, social media, terrorism, Covid, gun violence, fake new, religious fanaticism, political agendas, and even racism.

The director and script writer did a superb job telling the story of Father Christmas’ murder and subsequent funeral with a smooth stream of news and commentary that is only heard and not seen, leaving the audience to imagine what the children were seeing on their screens, and letting the viewer fill in the details. I felt that this was a very original way to weave the tale and it was almost like what happens when one reads a book, as opposed to when one watches a film. 

The child actors in this film were very genuine in their reactions and interactions with each other and with the different news tidbits they were getting from their TV and electronic devices. It is through this childlike curiosity, wonder, and innocence that we are told a horrendous story of violence. In the absence of an adult, the children rely on each other to explain the complex issues they are witnessing.  The dialogue is real and unaffected; all three of the young actors turn in completely believable and impressive performances.

The whole mood of the film is quite somber, and this is manifested through the camera shots, and the color schemes.  The lighting is quite impressive as well, as we see a deliberate use of the blue light reflected from the television set onto the room and the children, casting a shadow of technology on the whole event.  The use of the reflective light was also very effective in creating different moods to go with the audio of the news emitted from the television, giving off an eerie yet very familiar atmosphere to what could be anyone’s living room during a breaking news event.

I found this to be a very well-crafted film, thoughtfully written and executed. The script flows very well between the news and the children’s comments and discussions.  The art direction is precise and accomplishes the goal of creating the right mood for the piece.  The acting is on point, and the overall editing is good.  I found myself wanting to see and know more at the end; this is a must see for anyone interested in the story telling aspect of cinema.

R.Barotta, Ph.D

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