Andrew Repasky McElhinney, the critically acclaimed underground filmmaker responsible for such offbeat gems as “A Chronicle of Corpses” (2001) and “Georges Bataille’s Story of the Eye” (2003), has created a whimsical holiday season feature.
Told without any dialogue, this feature presents a series of inventive dance sequences linked to the simple tale of a contemporary Little Drummer Boy (Conrad Sager) trying to win the heart of a pretty girl (Francesca Flamminio). A magical toymaker keeps an eye on this youthful pair as their dreams spin into vibrant fantasty detours before settling in a delightful reality.
The film’s soundtrack is a mix of Christmas favorites and Jenn Rose’s choreography presents an innovative blending of ballet, musical comedy theater and even a surprising detour into Frankie-and-Annette territory. Sager and Flamminio are charismatic and gifted young performers who create a genuinely charming on-screen chemistry.
But the real joy is having McElhinney back behind the camera – this is his first feature since the barely-seen “Animal Husbandry” in 2009, and his audacity in creating an independently produced Christmas dance film – something you don’t see every December, to be certain – reaffirms his ability to create uncommon and invigorating works of cinematic imagination.