91 minutes, U.S.A.-Germany, 2003, Colour, 35mm

Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World) gives a unique spin to celluloid depictions of the joyful holiday season in this gleefully profane and very funny story of Willie Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton), who works as a store Santa every year just so that he can have the opportunity of robbing that year’s venue.

A borderline degenerate, Willie arouses the suspicions of security chief Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac). In order to escape Gin’s scrutiny, Stokes at first takes advantage of a lonely, unpopular boy who seems to believe that he really is Santa, but gradually takes an interest in the child and becomes a (slightly) better person. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

For more festive screenings and events at the IFI in December, see Christmas at the IFI.

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