In a very unique way, The Young Santa Claus deals with themes of ageing, mental health and isolation experienced by the elderly. Poetically and uniquely to Salkic’s work, the film also reaches into the migrant consciousness exploring themes of home and belonging to a place, and displacement. This truthfulness of belonging to one’s place of birth forever is one of the film’s anchoring points.

In this film, a man is born out of water and the sea, shivering on the rocky beach. From this vulnerable state, that symbolises the state of the many who have reached the Australian shores as migrants and refugees, Salkic’s character finds a dry and warm Santa Claus suit placed on this shivering beach. Out of necessity the Salkic’s character puts the suit on and he instantly becomes The Young Santa Claus. In a way, there is a strange and effective touch of a superhero film in this work by Salkic: something reminiscing the origins of the mythological Santa Claus.

New York based film programmer and cinephile Micheal Pardy writes on The Young Santa Claus: “With The Young Santa Claus, Saidin Salkic departs from his usual visual cacophony of graphic images, to evocatively, and rather gently for him, cast his unique eye on the existential and real traumas present in just living our lives. Not without some humour — there is something winningly absurd about a man walking around in a Santa suit — the daily fears of just getting from here to there, wondering just who we are and why we are here, facing the intricacies of telephones and tea kettles, and the indignity of just keeping our pants on, are just a few of the challenges presented here. Fans of Salkic’s work will recognise the truly wonderful silver tones of his graphic filmmaking, and will be comforted by the now familiar use of cawing crows, the sounds of thunder or explosions, and by the presence of the Lear-like John Flaus, and Salkic himself, once again a moon-faced frightened narrator who pushes the story forward. This is, I think, one of Salkic’s most accessible films to date. For those unfamiliar with his work, it is a must-see introduction to the man called “a natural treasure in Australia’s avant-garde film industry”.

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