A Christmas Tale

Despite that treacly title which makes it sound like a Very Special Hallmark Hall of Fame TV flick, A Christmas Tale upends virtually every cliché known to connoisseurs of holiday-themed fare. For starters, it’s the first “Christmas” film inspired by a treatise on organ transplants (La greffe by psychoanalyst Jacques Ascher and hematologist Jean-Pierre Jouet). Ho-ho-ho indeed. The extended family of Junon Vuillard (Catherine Deneuve) gathers round the yule log, trying to figure out who would make the most compatible bone-marrow transplant donor. Another pall cast over the festivities is the looming shadow of youngest Vuillard child Joseph who died at age seven from lymphoma. Nothing says holiday cheer like a dead child and a dying mother, right? But by the time it’s over, you feel like an honorary member of the Vuillards as you get to know each and every one of them. Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 7 p.m. Saturday, March 14 and at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15. HHHH
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