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Out of Africa (1985)

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Out Of Africa

This off beat film is based on the real life memoirs of a Danish woman called Karen Blixen ( played by Meryl Streep ) who lived in Kenya during the colonial times of British rule over the colony and spent an idyllic existence there .

And why not an idyllic existence ?? The Europeans lived a life of luxury there that only conquerors can live , owned thousands of acres of land , and the time of Africans calling for independence was not yet near .

Karen came there after proposing to her husband that he should marry her and help her start a dairy farm , but after coming there he invests her money to start a coffee plantation instead . And even in this venture he takes little interest , preferring to go for hunting the animals that abound in this part of Africa . And he is a philanderer , his philandering resulting in him transmitting Syphilis to his wife due to which she cannot ever have children even after a long and difficult recovery from the disease .

Is it the lowly position of women during those days that even a rich and powerful woman like Karen has to put up with all this and cannot do anything ?? Or is it her understanding nature that she forgives her husband for everything and tries to fall in love with him ?? Or is she just a hopeless romantic searching for love as opposed to loneliness ??

But things take a turn due to the appearance of a dashing handsome hunter---played by who else but Robert Redford....and Karen falls head over heels in love with him....they go for long hunts in the african grasslands where they participate in beautifully photographed hunting of lions and lionesses , they dance the night away beside romantic campfires at midnight , go flying in biplanes over the african savannah , and make wanton love on satin sheets .

But are all men the same ?/ While women dream of love and loyalty and everlasting romance , men think of only their next conquest....Denys Finch Hatton ( played by Redford ) too wants his freedom and his vagabond life and his big game hunting safaris deep in the African wilderness rather than marriage and domesticity and settling down . Ultimately Karen has to let go even of him . And is it because of their similar natures that Hatton and Karen's ex husband are not jealous of each other inspite of having the same woman at different times in their lives ??

The tides of history touch upon this remote corner of the world too , and the first world war is shown intruding the the peace in the first half of the movie . And not even Karen's desperate following of him where he has gone to fight the Germans convinces her husband of her love . When her coffee plantation ( over which she has spent so much hard work after both men in her life reject her ) is on the brink of a fabulous profit , fire breaks out destroying everything . And her pleas for help fall on deaf ears , even though she goes to the extent of falling on her knees begging for help in front of visiting royalty .

It seems success is not destined to favour Karen . It is time to say goodbye to Africa...
But has Karen's life in Africa been a failure ?? In fact as she prepares to leave , her worth is realised by the men and the people who she is going to say goodbye to . Her lover has to confess that she has destroyed his ability to be alone without her . Her husband too is sad . The same gentleman's club where she was driven out because they didn't entertain ladies ( Indian actor Kabir Bedi plays head waiter there ) now invites her so that all men there can raise a toast to her . But above all, the african people are sad to lose her---for she has formed lasting relationships with them , and been a just master of her estates . Her servants and other africans whose life she has touched do not want her leave ; some even want to go with her....But it is too late....As the train to Mombasa arrives , from where a ship will take her back to Europe , Karen has left her imprint on the there is a museum in her name where she once lived....

The movie moves at an idyllic pace amidst the greenery of Africa , never rushing it's flow . And inspite of the ups and downs of Karen's life , seeing the movie I found peace and tranquillity of mind . That peace and tranquillity was increased by the stunning musical score by John Barry . Hearing the tunes of Barry's music while seeing Karen and her lover holding hands in a plane flying over the vastness and the natural beauty of Africa---I had at last found nirvana....

Acting is good by everyone and photography is good too---watch the scene where a lion and a lioness try to attack the leading lady and actor only to find themselves in the leap of death , for they are shot dead by them...

Verdict---Most satisfying .

I remember when this movie came out in 1986.

I remember my 4th grade teacher saying what a great movie it was. I never got around to watching it. It looked boring to me then. It still does.