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NOWHERE IN AFRICA (article first published : 2003-04-20)

Presented by Nu-Metro, Nowhere in Africa is a former Durban Film Festival offering. A subtitled German movie, it is a surprise delight and a must for anyone keen on character-based drama.

Directed by Caroline Link and inspired by Stefanie Zweig's autobiographical novel, Nowhere in Africa's two-hour story unwinds as Nazism raises its ugly head in Germany. This sends a young lawyer, Walter (Merab Ninidze), packing for a humble job on a Kenyan cattle farm, from where he sends for his wife and young daughter as clouds of gloom grow with Hitler's rise.

The film is less about the war and the Holocaust, however, than a thoughtful, realistic and compelling chronicle of a family's trials and triumphs experiencing a new life in a foreign land.

For the spoiled and somewhat selfish Jettel (Juliane Kohler), her husband's decision to relocate is no sweet affair. She hates the harsh rural life and being away from the world and people she loves.

However, young Regina (played by Lea Kurka, then Karoline Eckertz), adapts more readily and thoroughly, hitting it off with the family's kindly cook, Owuor (Sidede Onyulo), who introduces her to his tribal language and customs and becomes a dear friend.

The incident-rich interplay between these four leads - the growing friendship between cook and child and the deteriorating marriage of Walter and Jettel - pull the focus of a film that has won a clutch of awards at various festivals.

Beautifully acted and superbly photographed, Nowhere in Africa deserves good houses. . Rating: 8/10 - Billy Suter




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