"This is a touching story told through a skillful lens. I enjoyed the realistic style of the film, and I cared for the characters. Her struggle and her caring is very successfully communicated through the scenes. I think the muted, less saturated look complements the drab setting of the story. His reaction to her sort hair is heart breaking. The flashback that reveals the back story of his gift is created beautifully. Their affection for one another, their willingness to sacrifice brings them even closer to one another.""A very nice story with meaning and poignancy that is simple yet effective in the message it is giving the viewer. Each of the main actors are very good in showing us emotion, disappointment and love. The cinematography is good and effective. Of particular mention are the shots through the streets of the town as the woman shops. Although a simple scene it captures the woman's state of disappointment in her search to find a suitable gift for the one she loves. It was also clear to see the current times in Greece that were hard for everyone. The final scene is both powerful and amusing. Each of the characters finally realize the having on another is really the best gift of all. There were several occasions, in particular early in the film where the subtitles were too fast. I could not read fast enough and had to go back several times to make sure I didn't miss a key element of the film.""One of my all-time favorite short stories by O'Henry. Nice flashbacks when the girl is holding with her foot his prized pocket watch, and they are looking through a jewelry window and spot the butterfly hair combs. Clear outside cinematography and authentic sounds of the street, especially loved the Christmas -laden decorations at the street shops, and the wonderful bakery shop. I am unsure what the black program was that she was holding, or why she looked out the window and say the woman looking for food in the garbage. I thought she was going to bring food home for that woman. Maybe have the people looking through trash at the end with the VoiceOver. Beautiful cultural singing as she walked along the street. Liked the many mirrors in the home and the shop windows that reflected her facial feelings. Good close ups of her fixing coffee, opening her gift, the hair comb in tissue, and the watch chain box. Love that new people will experience the selflessness of giving with this story."CIFF Selection Committee Comments. Cleveland International Film Festival
“a timeless tale”
For the people that haven’t read it , it’s a tale of love and the things that we are prepared to do for the ones we hold dear. Considering that the story was published in 1905 and with a length of around 4 pages, you expect a 15 minute movie filmed more than a hundred years later to look disconnected and out of place.
Instead , after a couple of minutes you are experiencing a x-mas story that is neither childish nor outdated. The actors weave the tale wonderfully while sticking to the original dialogues and the soundtrack finds a beautiful place between O. Henry’s time and ours ,including among the x-mas themed songs, a classic from the 40s. Lastly the photography and directing are like handmade jewellery of inexpensive materials, meaning that it’s great value lies in the carefully chosen details and a story well told with a just a few scenes. The movie was very enjoyable from start to finish, would definitely recommend it and not just during the holidays as -like the original story- conveys moral values that should be treasured.
Trivia: The radio station that opens up the movie is “Radio 18,62” which immediately clicked as a date and after a bit of searching turned out to most probably be a tribute to O.Henry ,who was born on 1862.
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