Thursday, March 13, 2014

2 hours: Nowhere in Africa (film)

I watched the German film Nowhere in Africa (Run time: 2 hrs 20 mins). It is a story about a German Jewish family who escapes to Kenya during Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s. Upon the outbreak of WWII, the British round up and separate German citizens, dividing up the family. The are eventually reunited and return to Germany, but their lives forever changed and Africa feels (especially to the mother and daughter) as a true home.
I found this film useful in terms of hearing words (supplemented with the assistance of subtitles) that I knew used in the fast pace of regular dialogue. Family names, like Opa, Oma, etc.. Foods, and other recognizable German. Early in the movie, a character explains how the informal "du" is more appropriate to use than the formal "Sie" when in Kenya.
As for understanding German history, this film is valuable as historical fiction to describe the lives of fleeing German Jews during the rise of German National Socialism. The film accurately intimates the looming threat of Nazism in the 1930s, as well as illustrates the confusing juxtaposition between being a Jew but also a German citizen (in terms of how the allied powers perceived you).  

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