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Out of Africa

From Academic Kids

This article is about the novel and the film; for the African-origin theory of human evolution sometimes referred to as the "Out of Africa" theory, see single-origin hypothesis.



Out of Africa is an autobiographical book by Isak Dinesen. It is about European settlers in Kenya.

In 1985, a film based on the book (as well as Dinesen's Shadows on the Grass) and bearing the same title appeared. The film was adapted by Kurt Luedtke, directed by Sydney Pollack, and starred Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer, and Michael Kitchen. It received Academy Awards for Art Direction, Cinematography, Director, Original Score, Best Picture, Sound, and Adapted Screenplay.

The film opens in Denmark as a dying Karen Blixen (Streep) remembers the years she spent in Africa between 1913 and 1931. Looming large in her memory is the figure of Denys George Finch Hatton (Redford), a local large game hunter she met when she arrived in Africa to start what she thought would be a dairy farm together with her husband, Baron Bror Blixen (Brandauer).

Things turn out differently for her than anticipated, as the blue-blooded but poor Baron has used her money to purchase a coffee plantation instead of a dairy farm. He also shows little inclination to put any work into it, preferring to hunt game instead. While from the beginning their marriage is depicted as mostly symbiotic in the movie (her family has money, while the Baron has a title), Karen does eventually develop feelings for him and is distressed when she learns of his affairs.

To make matters worse, she contracts syphilis from her philandering husband, which at the time was a very dangerous condition, necessitating her return to Denmark for a possible cure.

After she has recovered and returned to Africa, a relationship between her and Finch Hatton begins to develop. However, after many unsuccessful attempts at turning their affair into a lasting relationship and possibly marriage, she must realize that Finch Hatton is as impossible to own or tame as the African wildlife itself. His eventual death in a plane crash is foreshadowed in the movie by the tale of Maasai people who would perish in captivity.

As coffee prices have dropped dramatically after the First World War, Karen is forced to give up the plantation and return to Denmark where she becomes an author, writing about her experiences in Africa.

The movie tells this story as a series of six loosely coupled episodes from her life, intercut with her narration. The final narration is from her book, Out of Africa, while the others have been written for the film in imitation of her very lyrical writing style.

The narrative and the flow of the movie differs significantly from the book.de:Jenseits von Afrika fr:Homme blanc, cœur noir

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