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.
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.