Christmas Dreams (2017)

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.