Visions of sugar plum fairies will dance in your head as The Secret of the Nutcracker, a new spin on the classic tale, comes to life.
The film is loosely base on E.T.A. Hoffman’s Nussknacker und Mausekönig which inspired Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker.
It features the talented Brian Cox as Drosselmeyer, and introduces Janelle Jorde as Clara. This delightful Christmas tale tells the story of 12 year-old Clara’s mystical journey on Christmas Eve to find her father in a World War II German Prisoner of War camp. She receives unexpected help from the mysterious Drosselmeyer who befriends Clara and encourages her to believe that she can create magic.
The Secret of The Nutcracker is directed by Eric Till and features the music of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and John Estacio, performed by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Four exquisite dance spectacles by the renowned Alberta Ballet are woven throughout to create Clara’s fantasy dream world.
There is a spectacular ballroom sequence with dancers in Venetian bird masks and costumes in all colours of the rainbow. Drosselmeyer doubles as a wise owl with glowing golden eyes, and he travels with an amusing flock of Swiss Guard crows.
Clara lives with her mother and two younger brothers in rural Alberta in 1943 while her father is a POW in Germany. This classic tale is seamlessly interwoven throughout with references to the Second World War and the Nazi internment camps.
The Secret of the Nutcracker begins a scene of the boys in the wood, sent to bring home a tree on Christmas Eve. They are startled by strange rustling noises, and they run home as quickly as they can.
The woods and the deserted road are ominous, and the shadowy figures that flash through the trees are reminiscent of the Nazi threat. We see Clara reflected in the golden eye of an owl, and there is a pervasive sense of being watched. In one of Clara’s frightening dreams, the Nazi menace appears as large black rat/bear creatures that imprison her mother and brothers in the trees.
In another, brighter dream, Clara visits her father with the help of Drosselmeyer, and gives him the gift of hope.
And yes, here’s the spoiler: Clara’s dad comes home at the end of the war, and there’s a quintessential Canadian scene of him running up the road through the snow to Clara, her brothers and their mother.
Video excerpts at Joe Media
You can get your very own copy of this award-winning film at CBC Shop