For those of you who (like me) aren’t that arsed about Christmas, here’s a couple of films (available on DVD and online) chosen as an antidote to John Wayne re-runs, Mary Poppins, or The Sound of Music. Let’s start with Greek director Theodoros Angelopoulos’ The Travelling Players (1975), an epic of Greek history from 1939 to 1952 seen through the eyes of an itinerant theatre group. At 3 hours 45 minutes the film takes in the turbulent politics of pre-war Greece, World War 2, and the civil war that followed. Second choice is Soviet director Sergei Bondarchuk’s 1966 stunning version of Tolstoy’s classic novel War and Peace. At 7 hours 11 minutes it is probably best seen in four parts, as the filmmakers originally intended. Don’t get the inferior 1956 version by King Vidor.