"Nowhere in Africa", oscar for best foreign film in 2003, is adapted from "An African childhood", autobiographical bestseller of Stefanie Zweig, by a young German Director reputation built on a film a bit overestimated because it difficult ("Beyond Silence", with Sylvie Testud in the role of the two deaf parents lover girl). Such top immediately raises the worst anxieties of postcards of Africa to bien-pensant academicism. Error, Caroline Link film is a very good surprise. The story is elegant, is just and searched, the actors are great and the landscapes of the Kenya are of breathtaking beauty.
1937, in Germany, the nazis to power are blowing a wind of anti-Semitism. Walter Redlich, son of good family and lawyer, convinced that things can only get worse, headed "Scout" in the Kenya where he worked on a farm. It is for local authorities approval to bring his wife Jettel and their daughter, Regina. These last, after a very long trip, so arrive on 20 April 1938 the anniversary of the Fuehrer in the middle of nowhere, to Rongai in Africa.
By delicate touches
For the girl, happiness is total, immediate: barely out of the car, it empties into the arms of the black Cook, Owuor, and this rapid and mutual friendship will grow over the years. Ebahie before the immensity that opens before it as an infinite playground, conquered by food, animals, language, rituals and beliefs of his adopted country, she quickly to immerse yourself in the Kenyan culture. For Jettel, on the other hand, nothing is of itself. Although this new world seems beautiful, it is not his and will never be. His mother and sister, remained in Berlin, he lack; It is decidedly not the soul of a farmer and his disputes with her husband are constant...
In 2: 21 by delicate touches the Director makes us feel the path taken by each of the three protagonists. Changing the point of view sometimes that of the child, sometimes that of his mother, Caroline Link focuses on details, silences, exchanged or just averted eyes. Germany news late 1938, synagogues and Jewish stores were burned are never forgotten, via radio or letters, they underpin the story and require Jettel to consider the Kenya as the only plank of salvation.
The war declared, male German nationals are held in a camp supervised by English soldiers (the Kenya is a British Crown Colony), while women and children are taken in a hotel in Nairobi. From that time, Jettel forgets its like a enturbannée doll and becomes a head woman who gets the necessary permissions to get a new farm and the release of her husband. Regina, registered at the school, discovers what it is to be "excluded", forced, like all the other Jewish children, out of the ranks at the "our father"...
The most unlikely bet of "Nowhere in Africa" was to avoid condescension, render, beyond superb images, the soul of Africa at this time before genocide , its mesmerizing and soothing. It is the superb character of Owuor the wise and generous companion of the daily life of the family Redlich, who sees all and knows all , fully earned.