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Luca Guadagnino Directs John C. Reilly as Santa Claus in Surprise Christmas Short for Zara — Watch

With a crooning Alex Wolff and a score from Alberto Iglesias, we can forgive this 43-minute short for being a Zara ad.

O Night Divine John C Reilly

John C. Reilly in “O Night Divine”


Is it possible that corporations can actually affect positive change in the world? Probably not, but while some throw meager sums at charity while earning profits off exploitative labor practices, others throw money at great artists. Which is why we have to thank Spanish apparel brand Zara for at least having great taste in filmmakers. The clothing retailer has hired Italian director Luca Guadagnino, maker of the lush romance “Call Me By Your Name,” to make a 43-minute short film called “O Night Divine.” If this is what it takes to get people to watch a short film, then deck the halls. Presumably, Guadagnino had full creative control, as he was able to enlist some other top-tier talent to flesh out this fanciful little Christmas treat. The film also features a score from Pedro Almodóvar’s trusted composer Alberto Iglesias.

“O Night Divine” stars John C. Reilly as a fully bearded Santa Claus who serenades an adorable little girl in Italian. Alex Wolff also features as a crooning vagabond, showing off a lovely singing voice that we certainly didn’t hear in “Hereditary.” They are joined by model and filmmaker Hailey Gates, who had small parts in “Uncut Gems” and “Twin Peaks: The Return.” The rest of the ensemble includes newcomers Samia Benazzouz, Chloe Park, Valerio Santucci, Francesca Figus, Tania Hanyoung Park, and Shi Yang Shi.

Guadagnino has been working in the short form lately, both with his 2020 HBO series “We Are Who We Are,” and premiering the short “Fiori, Fiori, Fiori!” the same year. For his next feature, “Bones and All,” Guadagnino will reunite with “Call Me By Your Name” star Timothée Chalamet. The supporting cast includes his “Suspiria” star Jessica Harper, his “We Are Who We Are” actresses Chloë Sevigny and Francesca Scorsese, plus “Waves” breakout Taylor Russell, Oscar winner Mark Rylance, André Holland, and filmmaker David Gordon Green. The script comes from David Kajganich, who penned Guadagnino’s “A Bigger Splash” and “Suspiria.” The film shot in Ohio this summer.

Though details are sparse on his other projects, he is supposedly remaking “Brideshead Revisited” for the BBC with Cate Blanchett, Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, and Ralph Fiennes. Also in the works are a new version of “Scarface” and a revamp of “Lord of the Flies.” Meanwhile, a follow-up to “Call Me By Your Name” has long been rumored, based on the André Aciman novel “Find Me.” Though its future is murky at best following the allegations of sexual assault against Armie Hammer.

For now, the moment calls for something light and frothy, like a warm egg nog at an ornate Italian ski chalet. Watch Guadagnino’s “O Night Divine” below.

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