So, the conversation went like this… my friend was trying to describe my eclectic taste in movies and she was quoted saying ‘she likes movies with a lot of dialogue’, to which my other friend immediately replied ‘like “Out of Africa”???’
I said ‘Yes, that is one of my all time favorite movies’ and of course I had to write about it.
The movie opens with the following wonderful lines ‘I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.’, by a Danish writer, Karen Blixen(a wonderful Meryl Streep) .
Having returned to her native Denmark, Karen writes her memoirs of her stay in Africa. She goes to Africa to join her husband, Bror Blixen, who promises to open a dairy farm; instead he buys a coffee plantation.
From then on, it is a long and arduous journey for Karen. She works hard on the plantation, takes care of the natives and in between falls in love with a white hunter, Denys Finch (Robert Redford). But she still does not get what she wants. While her husband is a womanizer and alcoholic, Denys is a hunter who leaves on long hunting expeditions. Neither of the men give her what she is seeking – constant companionship.
I think the movie is more about Africa than about Karen. The stunning visuals captured by David Watkin won him an academy award for Best Cinematography. At some point in the movie, you would stop and wonder if you are watching a movie or the National Geographic channel!! It is a wonderful tribute to the beauty of Africa starting from Kenya to Mt.Kilimanjaro..
It is also about a strong woman, Karen, who seeks love, first in her husband who fails to give anything in return and later turns to Denys, who also does not offer her a committed relationship. The death of Denys in an accident does make her melancholic and finally when the coffee plantation catches fire, she is forced to return to her native Denmark.
The one scene that I strongly remember is when Karen asks Denys if he ever feels lonely on his expeditions. And there in essence lies the story, Karen’s desire for companionship which never gets fulfilled by either of the men in her life!
Here is a video of it :
But let me warn you first, ‘Out of Africa’ is a long film running for 161 minutes and moving at a slow pace like in Africa ‘"Natives dislike speed, as we dislike noise..." but it does offer the ethereal beauty of Africa!