This film, directed by the highly talented Caroline Link, is based on an autobiographical novel of the same name by Stefanie Zweig. The film movingly captures the dilemmas and traumas of emigrants, in this case the story of a Jewish family that emigrates to Kenya just before World War II, to avoid persecution by the Nazis in Germany.
Former lawyer Walter Redlich finds work as a farm manager and soon sends for his family. His wife Jettel and daughter Regina are sorry to leave Germany but join him in Kenya, living in a remote area. Jettel has trouble adjusting to life in Africa, but their daughter Regina adapts well, learns to speak the language, and forms a close friendship with the farm's cook, Owuor.
When war breaks out, the British round up all the Germans in Kenya, separating the husbands and wives. The Redlichs' marriage slowly begins to deteriorate.
Later, Walter decides to join the British army in Nairobi, but Jettel refuses to join him. She decides to run the farm instead, forming a close relationship with his friend Susskind. Regina joins a boarding school, grows up fast, and makes many discoveries about cultural differences
When the war ends,Walter is keen to return to Germany, and resume his law career. In a moving scene, the family leaves by train, not knowing where to call home.
The film by young director Caroline Link, won several awards, climaxing in the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, in 2003 (The director received an Oscar nomination for her debut film).
What the Critics said -
Chicago-Sun-Times: "This is the kind of movie that real people really, really like."
Los Angeles Times: "Laced with poigancy and conflict, urgency and compassion."
Chicago Tribune: "Stunning!"
We thank the Goethe Institute, Bangkok, for enabling the screening of this film, and the Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Germany, Dr. Ingo Winkelmann, for the scintillating German wine.
Don't miss a memorable movie, in our Contemporary World Film Series.
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