For anyone who has ever wondered why their Christmas doesn’t look a lot like the one that’s conjured up by countless adverts and sales campaigns, Another Christmas offers something closer to home.

Commissioned by Music Beyond Mainstream, the 25-minute performance film presents a different kind of Christmas experience. Throughout, filmmaker Samona Olanipekun’s kaleidoscopic camera captures moments from lives far beyond the cosy clichés and revels in a wealth of experience as lived by those written out of commercially conventional Christmas tropes.

This 25-minute film features a series of set piece performances linked by Camille O’Sullivan’s episodic spoken word narration of ‘Fairytale of New York’ that segues the pared back chamber pop of Douglas Dare (from Bridport) whose ‘Not Coming Back’ seems to recall times and people lost or never found, a mood that finds unlikely impetus in his reading of Wham’s festive chart topper ‘Last Christmas’, itself following O’Sullivan’s anxious take on Brook Benton’s heartrending R&B ballad ‘I’ll Take Care of You’. This juxtaposition of kitchen sink imagery and heightened mood music propels the same singer’s commission piece ‘Raucous’, a song she tears through in the company of pianist Feargal Murray as the festivities unfold elsewhere.

That performance acts as a telling counterpoint to the film’s final – and most cinematic – act in which Mercury nominee ESKA (pictured) performs a startling invocation and retooling of ‘Silent Night’ accompanied by multi instrumentalist Duke Garwood in an empty Brighton Dome.

Another Christmas makes for a compelling watch that, for all its non-conformist credentials serves as a timely reminder of the merits of peace and goodwill to all – and what could be more Christmassy than that?

Another Christmas streams live from 8pm this Thursday (16 December) on the Music Beyond Mainstream YouTube channel.


Published 14 December 2021