Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Nirgendwo In Afrika
Germany, 2001. Bavaria Film, Bavaria Filmverleih- und Produktions GmbH, Bayerischer Banken-Fonds, Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für Angelegenheiten der Kultur und der Medien, Constantin Film, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Filmförderungsanstalt, MTM Cineteve, Media Cooperation One. Screenplay by Caroline Link, based on the novel by Stefanie Zweig. Cinematography by Gernot Roll. Produced by Peter Herrmann. Music by Niki Reiser. Production Design by Susann Bieling, Uwe Szielasko. Costume Design by Barbara Grupp. Film Editing by Patricia Rommel.
A German-Jewish family of three manage to escape the Nazis in the 1930s and relocate to Kenya. The little girl of the family immediately takes to her new surroundings, adopting its culture and making it her home, while her father loves the new country but can’t get over the degradation of going from big-city lawyer to farmer. The girl’s mother (Juliane Köhler) is the one most affected, starting off thinking the place a temporary resettlement until discovering that her family at home is in grave danger from the political climate around them and she cannot ever leave. Time passes, and soon she’s her own Karen Blixen, marching up and down her farmland and running it like a pro, unable to remember a time when Africa wasn’t her home. Directed beautifully by Caroline Link, the script (also by Link) is riddled with many obvious loose ends that never seem to matter thanks to her ability to truly capture the experience of this family’s cultural displacement. Kenya has never been seen so beautifully since Out of Africa, and though this film isn’t as good as the Sydney Pollack classic (and should be berated for trying so hard to be) it should definitely be seen by all who are its biggest fans.
Academy Award: Best Foreign Language Film
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
Toronto International Film Festival: 2001