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A Jewish family in Germany emigrate short before the Second World War. They move to Kenya to start running a farm, but not all members of the family come to an arrangement with their new life. Shortly after their departure, things are changing in Germany very quickly, and a turning back seems impossible. So everyone has to arrange himself with the new life in a new continent. Written by
This film was a surprise. It presents us a family that escape the horrors they foresaw coming in Germany to an uncertain future in Africa. The film as directed by Caroline Link, based on a novel by Stephanie Zweig, presents us with a family of survivors who will cling to life by going out of their world into the great unknown and a continent away.
In Germany the Redlich family is upper middle class. The household is filled with people going about their lives in an elegant way. That is until Walter and Jettel Redlich decide to leave it all behind to start a new life in Africa, thus avoiding a certain death.
Walter and Jettel stick out like sore thumbs in the rural part of Kenya where they go. Walter has never done any kind of manual labor, or Jettel, for that matter. Little Regina, who is a sweet and curious girl, feels right at home from the beginning. Children will adapt more easily than grown ups.
The Redlichs are lucky when Owuor arrives. They employ him right away. He is kindness personified; he turns out to be indispensable for all of them. When Walter loses the first post, the family has to relocate to another farm helped by the benevolent Susskind; his attraction to Jettel is evident, but he is too decent to take advantage of the situation.
The many difficulties are overcome because Jettel turns out to be the strongest person in this family. She is played by Juliane Kohler with gusto. She makes us feel she is this woman in the midst of a harsh place fighting all kinds of obstacles in order to survive in the new country.
The setting feels like the Africa of the 30s and 40s when it was a white man's paradise. This is the Africa where genocides will occur later on, as different nations will try to gain independence and some governments will practice what made this family flee Nazi Germany in the first place.
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