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Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika) (2001)

tomatometer

85

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 98
Fresh: 83 | Rotten: 15

A visually lovely epic with compelling, three-dimensional characters.

84

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 5

A visually lovely epic with compelling, three-dimensional characters.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 6,725

My Rating

Movie Info

A family on the run for their lives finds themselves in a beautiful but utterly unfamiliar world in this drama based on the autobiographical novel by Stefanie Zweig. Walter Redlich (Merab Ninidze) is a successful Jewish lawyer living in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. Aware of the increasing dangers of remaining in Germany, Walter seeks exile on a farm in Kenya, while his socially prominent wife, Jettel (Juliane Koehler), and his young daughter, Regina (Lea Kurka), stay behind, as

R,

Art House & International, Drama

Caroline Link

Sep 30, 2003

$5.9M

Zeitgeist Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (111) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (15) | DVD (13)

Everything in the film rings true, is deeply moving, richly photographed, and wonderfully acted.

June 26, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The acting is excellent.

May 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film has the glorious sweep of an epic.

May 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Link creates a complex and fascinating portrait of a marriage under the enormous stress of geographical dislocation and historical trauma.

May 9, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One very fine film.

April 25, 2003
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The pacing of Nowhere in Africa is a mite drowsy, but there are payoffs for the director's uninsistent touch.

April 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

plods through new terrain in Holocaust related subject matter with a shotgun mentality

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Very moving, well-written, and better-acted, but bitterly realistic.

March 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Global Rhythm Magazine
Global Rhythm Magazine

Nowhere in Africa is long enough that each character is meticulously studied and developed while Link takes the time also to provide wonderfully patient, artistic moments

March 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Bangitout.com
Bangitout.com

Una buena historia para decir un par de cosas sobre el desarraigo, los lazos familiares, y la chance de empezar una nueva vida siempre que sea necesario.

January 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

A pretty but unsatisfying trifle, its graceful camerawork and fine acting unable to make an oddly flat story shine.

December 1, 2003 | Comment (1)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

The acting is wonderful throughout, and director Carole Link has crafted a tale with the dramatic scope of a great epic. The English Patient comes to mind.

October 24, 2003

Caroline Link's Oscar winning film has sweeping theme music, stunning cinematography and a well-told story that offers a unique slice of history.

October 24, 2003 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

An epic story that deeply explores the lives of Jewish expatriots during World War II.

October 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Writer-director Caroline Link adapted Stefanie Zweig's expatriate memoir gracefully, languidly and with full understanding of its heroine.

October 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

Unusual in how it expertly blends two popular types of movies to create one seamless motion picture experience.

October 9, 2003
Creative Loafing

Excellent.

August 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

While Roman Polanski's The Pianist may be the most shattering film to deal with the Holocaust, Nowhere in Africa may well be the most human.

August 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Merely watchable.

July 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Offers an admirably understated study of the family's constantly shifting desires, fears and allegiances.

July 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A beautifully shot and honestly melancholy drama marred by a meandering script that has trouble deciding whose story is being told.

July 18, 2003 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

It's poignant, capturing the feeling of a young person's scattered memories.

July 6, 2003

Populated with personalities so completely rendered that they're as believable as the people next door.

June 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

It didn't move me.

June 4, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's exactly the sort of import you'd expect to walk off with an Academy Award.

May 25, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika)

A Jewish family from Germany flees to Africa to avoid the rise of Hitler.
The performances by all the main actors are absolutely excellent, especially by Merab Ninidze and Sidede Onyulo. The characters ring true, and the situations are all believable. Even the bratty behavior by Jettel, who misses the privileges of her life in Germany, seems logical when one remembers that she doesn't have the benefit of concentration camp photographs that have been handed down to us by history.
Ironically and interestingly, what is frustrating about Nowhere in Africa is also one of its greatest strengths: once again, here is a film about Africa with white protagonists, so the racism inherent in never telling African stories from an African perspective continues. Yet the point behind Nowhere in Africa is that even victims of racism, in this case the Jewish family, can exhibit racist tendencies. It's a remarkable concept because unlike other films about Nazism it doesn't reduce the world into clearly defined categories of good and evil.
The ending is unsatisfying, but the film opened a Pandora's Box with the complexity of its theme, and any ending that I can think of would ultimately be as reductive as the one the filmmakers chose.
Overall, Nowhere in Africa is a very good, unique film if only for the cinematography, but the complexity of its theme and the sharpness of its characters make it quite extraordinary.
October 11, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A different tale of WWll, that of an affluent Jewish family that escapes Germany to live dirt poor in Kenya. A very busy film, interesting and multileveled, with stuff constantly going on that threatens to break up the small clan, not the least being how they themselves disagree about Africa and her people, Germany and her people, and where is it that they really belong. Thoroughly engaging.
May 17, 2012
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

An excellent historical expose of exiled jews, and the trials they suffered during WWII. Very insightful film. One more take on the Nazi atrocities, and the resettlement of Jews. Interesting to show that there were those who believed enough in their German heritage to have the committment of reconstruction.
April 19, 2011
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Bob almighty! I have no idea just W.T.H.I.G.O. (What The Heck Is Going On) with my head. Tubbs had to help me to bed last night, even. Too much "Drink", I think, and now I got a vicious hangunder. Stinkin' Super Bull party. I never knew a bull could be so super. And the celebrating? Y! (Yikes!). I.C.B.H.C. (I Can't Believe How Crazy) we were. All for a bull (and it wasn't even that nice either, despite its superness - it even had the audacity to refuse to wear sombreros. ¡Que horrible!). I mean, the war's still goin' on! And here we are crazyin' it up for a party. Whitesnake passed out early (ghosts can't hold their "Drink", apparently). And Squiggy darn near drank his life away. He had so much "Drink", he almost made the bum-to-hallucination crossover (which would be a first).

U. (Ugh). I feel as if it isn't just the "Drink" that's getting to me. I think something else is at work here. Something...dark. And no, I don't mean dark like the Methochaun's jet black saliva. I mean [i]DARK[/i] dark. Ya know, like, uber-dark. Uhh...Oh, like 4 Candymen of the Uh-Pocket Clips are riding in on their lollipop steeds, bringing the sweet-tasting end of the world with them. Yeah, that kinda dark. Hmm. I wonder I.T.C.B.S. (If They Could Bring Some) more maple syrup, 'cause these waffle legs just aren't the same without it. (chokes down a dry waffle leg; groans) Oooooh, bad move!


...
[i][size=1]Bogart approaches![/size][/i]
February 2, 2004
neumdaddy
Mike Neumann

Super Reviewer

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