Bal­let

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - DS

(M) The Zookeeper’s Wife is a true story of the Holo­caust about gen­tiles who risked their lives to help their Jewish com­pa­tri­ots. The film opens in the sum­mer of 1939 as An­ton­ina Zabin­ska (Jes­sica Chas­tain) cy­cles cheer­fully through the zoo she owns with her hus­band. Be­fore long Germany in­vades Poland and the zoo is badly dam­aged in bomb­ing. Zabin­ska and her hus­band are per­mit­ted to con­tinue to live in the zoo af­ter they strike a deal with SS of­fi­cer Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl) to raise pigs to feed the oc­cu­py­ing Ger­mans. On the whole the film never quite man­ages to cre­ate the re­quired mood, even though it re­minds us once again of the scale and hor­ror of one of the great­est crimes of the 20th cen­tury.

A Dog’s Pur­pose Nutcracker: Story of Clara The Aus­tralian Bal­let departs from the whim­si­cal orig­i­nal to tell a story grounded in re­al­world events and the history of bal­let in Australia. In Graeme Mur­phy’s rad­i­cal retelling, Clara (Dim­ity Azoury) is an el­derly Rus­sian im­mi­grant and for­mer prima bal­le­rina, dream­ing with love and sad­ness of one fever­ishly hot Aus­tralian Christ­mas Eve in the late 1950s. Her story en­com­passes ro­mance and loss, world­wide fame, war and revolution, and a jour­ney to Australia that leads to her join­ing the na­tion’s ear­li­est pro­fes­sional bal­let com­pany, sow­ing the seeds of the Aus­tralian Bal­let. Syd­ney Opera House, Ben­ne­long Point. Tick­ets: $43-$218. Book­ings: (02) 9250 7777 or on­line. Un­til May 20. Du­ra­tion: 1hr 54min, with in­ter­val.

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