Christmas in Saskatchewan, Canada,
frozen hell to some, blissful heaven to others, depending on which side of the
‘sanity’ line you are on. As
for aging, self-taught, brilliant but never discovered inventor Mike O’Brien,
afflicted with dementia, the old farmhouse is Heaven on earth, or more
accurately, a gateway to Valhalla, Paradise
for Vikings who do honorable battle while on Planet Earth.
When living on ‘the other side’ of reality, he talks to a his best
buddy ‘Winchester’ (a moosehead) putting even more inventions 500 years
ahead of their time into his notebooks, and gazing out at a ‘mechanical
bird’ buried under the snow, a winged-bicycle he built with his deceased buddy
Pete during WWII which achieved flight for a glorious 37 second flight.
His last wish is to take ‘Bertha’ up for another ride, to shake his
fist at the Creator in defiance and to shake His hand in bondship.
‘Pete’, who appears to him as a ghost, beckons the old man to brave
the elements and the heights for one last glorious flight.
But there are
real people at home, who try to deal with Mike’s real medical problems.
‘Good son’ Jack had stayed on the farm to take care of his father,
though the real reason why Jack never left was that he was afraid of the world
outside Saskatchewan and outside of the realms of strict Christian
son’ Jim left the farm and achieved, according to the few letters he sent
home, great success as a lawyer in Toronto.
But it’s time for Jim to come home, bringing up old resentments and
hidden fears between himself and his brother Jack, and a war which Mike’s drop
in nurse (who wants to be more) seeks to avoid.
Top on the agenda…deciding if Mike should dwell in the ‘Viking’
dream world only he can see, or the real one where he can be comforted and loved
in the more traditional Christian sense.
setting of this Wagnarian prairie tale is contemporary Saskatchewan, the real
location where it takes place is…someplace else entirely.
WARNING: Low budget claustrophobic sets…on purpose.
Directed by: MJ Politis.
Producer/DOP: Tony Towstego. Featuring: Walter
Mills, Del Sergic, Rick Gorie.
First aired, CTV 1989 (CND).
Long Rider Productions, Celista, BC