Clara and the Secret of the Bears (2013) MIFF Review


Switzerland/Germany   93 Mins

Clara has returned to her village in the Swiss Alps after her summer holiday. She sees a bear cub playing in a meadow and suspects the father is not far away – the mother was killed by poachers the year before. Clara starts to have visions brought on by the house her step-father is renovating; visions of a young girl from the past and her troubles. It becomes clear that Clara must find a way to help this girl and the bears.

I get very nervous about bears. I think that’s quite natural. They are wild and have claws and teeth and kill people. I found some of the scenes with Clara interacting with the bears, even from a distance, very unsettling, even though there was no real indication that anyone would be hurt. It was not that type of film.

It is, however, a gorgeous film. The alps are so beautiful, the story is strong and you are quickly on the side of Clara, who is quite strong and capable, yet a bit out of her depth. I felt, at times, that the editing took away from the story, possibly missing some crucial points and dwelling on things that had been clearly stated, but it is none-the-less a film worth watching, and a film I think many younger teenagers would enjoy.

Clara and the Secret of the Bears is part of the Next Gen Program and has school screenings on Thursday July 24 at 1pm at the Forum and Thursday August 7 at 11am at ACMI. Book through ATOM

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