All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride

BR All Aboard! The Sleigh RideIf you are looking for an extremely slow-paced, meditative film for a wintery or Christmasy night, this is it. All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride consists of nothing but two hours of footage of Sami reindeer herders following an ancient postal route through the taiga forest of Northern Norway, beautifully filmed by BBC Four. The soundtrack is simply a recording of the journey, with no music or voiceover. Occasional written texts provide some contextual information. M. was entranced for the first hour, which is really quite a long time for a toddler to watch nothing but a couple people and a couple reindeer moving through the snow. Then he was ready to move on to something else (though he continued to ask questions about reindeer for several days afterwards).

Age: 0+
Child rating: 8/10
Adult rating: 8/10
Running time: 2 hours
Available for free on the BBC Four website


Begone Dull Care

BR Begone Dull CareM. found this one a bit too fast-paced, but I enjoyed this lively, drawn-, painted-, and scratched-on-film animation by Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, with music by Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

Age: 1+
Child rating: 7/10
Adult rating: 9/10
Running time: 8 minutes
Available for free on the National Film Board of Canada website