In person: Bent Hamer.

Norwegian all-star Bent Hamer has a knack for striking and holding the wry, deadpan tone that eludes most would-be conjurers of life’s little (and big) absurdities. With his latest, Hamer (who directed the superb Charles Bukowski adaptation Factotum) beads together the darkly comic travails and passions in a small town at Christmastime. Building on the humor, mood of solitude, and warm visuals of his past films, the ensemble story shows Hamer’s take on yuletide sentiment.

“Highly sentimental but never sappy, Home for Christmas is cause for celebration… Hamer's vignette style appears at once loose and assured, building toward a quiet epiphany that viewers of any religious persuasion can appreciate.”