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CHRISTMAS

‘Tre nøtter til Askepott’: How does the remake stack up against the Christmas classic? 

If you know anything about Christmas in Norway, then you’ll know ‘Tre nøtter til Askepott’ is a festive institution. But, how does the new recently released version compare to the original? 

Pictured is Schloss Moritzburg, where large parts of the original were filmed.
Does the remake live up to the original? Pictured is Schloss Moritzburg, where large parts of the original were filmed. Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Every year since 1996, Norwegians all over the country have gathered on the morning of Christmas Eve to tune in to ‘Tre nøtter til Askepott’ (Three Nuts for Cinderella) on public broadcaster NRK. 

The film is actually a dub of a 1973 Czech adaptation of Cinderella, with all characters voiced by one man, Knut Risan. The movie strays from the typical fairy godmother plotline. Instead, Cinderella receives three magical wish-granting nuts. 

READ ALSO: Explaining Norway’s peculiar Christmas tradition

Given the nearly 50-year-old film’s various idiosyncrasies, it is undoubtedly one of Norway’s odder Christmas traditions. This can make it (mainly speaking for myself here) a puzzling watch for foreigners who didn’t grow up with it. 

Luckily a Norwegian remake of the classic has recently been released at cinemas, which might make the Christmas tradition a lot easier to get into for those put off by the sometimes jarring original. 

The new film features a slew of Norwegian stars and has received positive write-ups from critics. 

It has garnered scores of five (this may seem low, but it isn’t, Norwegians grade things on a scale of 1-6) from film mags Kinosmagasinet and Filmfront and newspapers Bergens Tidende, Dagavisen and Nordlys

Dagavisen was particularly positive about pop-star Astrid S’s performance as Cinderella and said the film had all the ingredients to go on and become a future Christmas classic. 

“Astrid Semplass fills Cinderella’s sparkling shoes with down to earth charm and strong determination in ‘Tre nøtter til Askepott’, a film that has everything it takes to become a new classic for the genre,” Dagavisen said in its review

Overall, the film garnered praise for its cast, set designs and treatment of the beloved original. Some less positive reviews said that it lacked some of the romance and charm of the original. 

With its modern production values and star-studded cast, the remake should at least help the Norwegian Christmas tradition become easier to get into and act as a springboard for learning to love the original, which Norwegians adore for all its quirks and oddities.  

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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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