Christmas, Home Alone & Church

home alone church

It’s the same every year. The boxes are brought down from the attic/roof space, the tree is put together, the branches unfolded and my annual task of untangling the lights begins.

There is one box every year that I can’t wait to get into. The Christmas DVD box. As traditional as the tree itself we have a box full of Christmas DVDs  that are just for this special time of year.

Every year the same rotation, It’s A Wonderful Life, Gremlins, Miracle on 34th Street even Christmas with the Kranks (don’t judge me) are all there to enjoy.

Home Alone however above all others has become a firm family favourite. For starters be honest who hasn’t wished their family would disappear at some point? Kevin being man of the house slapping on some Brut and of course the chaos of Harry and Marv working their way through Kevin’s fun house.

There was one part of the film though that, particularly in my younger days, bored me. The segment in the film where Kevin goes to church.

This year though something changed. Something shifted. This year I watched what Kevin did and listened to what was said.

Kevin goes to church seeking refuge. He is missing his family, is afraid and needs some sanctuary. Unexpectedly he encounters his neighbour Old Man Marley and is shocked to discover the human side of  a man he has previously been terrified of. The realisation comes that Old Man Marley is also in church for refuge. He is in fact very similar to Kevin as he also misses his family. Estranged from his son Marley has to watch the choir practice as this is the only way he can see his grand daughter be close to his family. The refuge he seeks is from his past circumstances whereas Kevin seeks refuge from the present.

During the conversation Marley has the killer line following a misunderstanding with Kevin when he corrects him by saying ‘everyone is welcome at church’.

That’s why Kevin goes to church. That’s why Marley is there. They know deep down even with their problems that church is a place of refuge and a place of welcome to the weary.

I hope that this Christmas you find church (wherever that may be ) to be the same.

Second Coming: An alternative Christmas film

second-coming

Every December we repeat fairly familiar patterns. Presents are wrapped, trees erected, cards and best wishes posted and, one of my favourite traditions, the circling/highlighting of must see shows and films in the Christmas Radio Times.

Christmas films have become part of the seasonal routine Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Muppets Christmas Carol, Elf & Home Alone have become part of the staple Christmas movie diet. Alternative options have also increased in their festive circulation, Die Hard, Gremlins, Rare Exports even Batman Returns. These alternative serving to satisfy those seeking more action, fantasy or even horror in amongst the family favourites.

However this year I want to suggest a possible alternative, something fresh to add to the established few.

Second Coming.

This small British film flew under the radar this year but really is worth seeking out. Screened at the Belfast Film Festival this year I missed out due to a scheduling clash but intrigued by the title I made sure that a copy was quickly purchased and I was not disappointed.

Directed by Debbie Tucker Green Second Coming tells the story of Jackie (Nadine Marshall) who discovers that she is pregnant. She knows it is not her husband’s (Idris Elba) as they have not slept together in months and she has not slept with anyone else. Therefore the question remains where has this pregnancy come from?

Playing with the notion of an immaculate conception in the London of 2015 raises so many questions. Could it really happen? Could your relationship survive the doubt and the questions that this news brings?  Could you survive the mental anguish that Jackie outs herself through?

The real treat is the ambiguity that Debbie Tucker Green applies. No clear answers are given and it is up to the audience to decide what has happened.

Second Coming is not a traditional Christmas film but it does have a little bit of Christmas within it.