Jewish lawyer Walter Redlich (Merab Ninidze), his wife Jettel (Juliane Köhler) and daughter Regina (Lea Kurka/Karoline Eckertz) emigrate to Kenya in 1938, anxious to leave an increasingly hostile Nazi Germany. Regina blossoms in the new environment, making friends with their cook Owuor (Sidede Onyulo), but Jettel finds it much harder to adapt, causing a strain on the marriage. She finds great solace in her friendship with Susskind (Mattias Habich), a fellow German also in exile, but who has made his life in Africa.
 

3.5
A vibrant and unique insight into farm life in 1930's Kenya.

In 1937, Walter Redlich, Merab Ninidze, a Jewish lawyer, leaves Nazi Germany to find work as a farm manager in the British colony of Kenya, and before long his wife, Jettel, Juliane Koehler, and daughter, Regina, Lea Kurka, join him. Jettel is dismayed at the primitive conditions in which she finds herself, far away from family and friends and a more sophisticated lifestyle; but Regina is entranced by Africa, and soon befriends the familys servant played by Sidede Onyulo. When war breaks out between Britain and Germany in September, 1939, the Redlich's are interned by the British, despite the fact that they are refugees from Nazism; but life goes on, Regina starts to grow up (and is played by Karoline Eckertz) and even Jettel begins to love Africa.

The Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film - though not in the same class as the Finnish Oscar finalist, the sublime Man Without A Past, is a decently made family saga, handsomely filmed on African locations. It's not so much a story about Jewish refugees from Nazism as it is the depiction of this clash of cultures and the way the family, especially the wife and daughter, react to the cataclysmic changes in their lives. The screenplay is based on the autobiography by Stefanie Zweig, and Caroline Link's direction just about keeps the sentimental cliche's that always threaten, at bay.

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MA15+
2 hours 21 min

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