Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 11, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
May 17, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2004
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]
Super Reviewer
March 26, 2009
Nowhere in Africa,winner of the 2002 Best Foreign Film Oscar, told the story of a Jewish family that emigrated from Germany to Kenya before WWII, to escape the rising Nazi's in their home country. The movie focused on a lawyer named Walter Redlich, his wife,and their daughter, Regina, who narrated the story.She told us what happened to Walter, Jettel and her self, in an interesting story, even with a slow pace,how the Redlich family had to cope with poverty as they started over in a totally different land among people speaking a different language. It was heartbreaking, especially as they were separated from their families and comfortable life,but they also knew that they could not go back. , I do recommend this movie, for the ones who had not seen it yet, it is visually quite stunning, and the performances and direction were simply good.
Super Reviewer
½ May 28, 2008
A great film that's a bit basic but very well acted.
April 13, 2012
Love, friendship, and family honour... That seems a lot of topics to cover within a two-hour movie, ain't it?

Yet for what it's worth, director Caroline Link has uplifted German cinema to international fame with the beauty of this film, allegedly based on an autobiographical novel. That alone gives the movie the four stars it deserves.
½ January 15, 2009
This academy award winner for best foreign film is about a Jewish family that flees Hitler's Germany and takes refuge in Kenya. Unlike the multitude of other films about Jewish oppression at the time this film doesn't focus on their heritage but the difficulty being in a foreign land and their own fears and prejudices for the African people.
August 22, 2007
Winner for Best Foreign Film, Nowhere in Africa is the heartwarming story of a Jewish family who flee to Africa after the Nazis come to power. Culturally rich and beautifully written, Nowhere in Africa quickly became one of my favorites.
January 14, 2007
Amazing. It's a different tale of a Jewish family surviving during WWII in Africa. They still have to go through some of the hardships that the Jewish people went through, but they go through it in Africa.
½ May 21, 2006
Remarkable German movie, but beware of its semi-hardcore nudity! First ever movie to portray Jews having sex, unfortunately... They should bring here Puenktchen & Anton (directed by the same Caroline Link and starring the same Juliane Koehler) instead!
October 1, 2014
This one is based on a diary from the daughter in a real-life version of such a story. The mother is not so selfish early on in the real life story. The drama among the family members is as important as the challenge of adapting to another culture. The main servant, Owuor, stands as the link between those two competing plots. The dialogue and acting are both very strong. Overall, it is a very compelling story.
March 21, 2014
Beautiful and touching! Loved it <3
½ February 13, 2014
A wonderful movie. The characters will be with you long after the end.
December 27, 2013
Nowhere in Africa (R)
2002 Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Film (Germany)
Shortly before World War II jumps into full swing, a Jewish family emigrates to Kenya to start up a farm and a hopeful new life. Considering where they are coming from and where they are heading to, the transition does prove difficult to each family member in its own way. But the father, the mother, and their young daughter each find a way to cope in their new home with the help of an honorary native godfather they meet along the way. . . The film does take an unorthodox look at survival during World War II, focusing more on the scenario of those who had to make due abandoning everything they knew and figuring it out in a place that might as well have been on another planet. . . Nowhere in Africa comes across as genuine by spinning something different with an all too familiar time-place-period used in story-telling, and painting it in front of a gorgeous African backdrop. The story will come across as a bit scattered and somewhat disheveled at times, but audiences will be attracted to the primary relationships being focused on in the mother versus the father and the daughter who is seemingly adopted by the kindly native godfather. Germany overall did a fine job putting this piece together, though the film doesn't hit the same levels of so many others that have packed such a punch in dealing with World War II and those who survived it.
½ March 21, 2013
Simple, innocent, beautiful.
½ January 4, 2013
Unique, interesting story.
September 16, 2012
Another Lost Slice of History

It's worth noting that the family in Today's Film lost everyone. Parents. Siblings. Everyone. They lost all their money, because by the time they saw what was happening, the rules were such that they could scarcely take anything. They ended up poor and in a country they couldn't understand, because countries with their way of life wouldn't take them in. Despite the claim that the Nazis were making right around the time that Our Story begins, they weren't interested in sending the Jews to Africa. After all, these characters go to Kenya, which was a British colony at the time. It took the efforts of the Jewish community in Nairobi to get even the wife and daughter out of Germany, and [i]Kristallnacht[/i] took place the day after they arrived. Millions of others did not have the chance that this family had, and those millions died because of it. And, of course, the twentieth century wasn't exactly great shakes for native Africans, either.

Regina Redlich (Lea Kurka at first, then Karoline Eckertz) was born a German Jew. She doesn't remember much about Germany, except that they had seasons there, and her grandfather (Gerd Heinz) was allergic to nuts. One day, when she was very young indeed, her father, Walter (Merab Ninidze) went to Kenya, and six months later, she and her mother followed. He has been a lawyer in Germany, but there was no place for German-speaking lawyers in Kenya, and now, he works on a farm as an overseer. He is cared for by Owuor (Sindede Onyulo). When Regina's mother, Jettel (Juliane Köhler), comes with Regina, she is completely unprepared for it. She doesn't seem to realize the severity of what's happening back in Germany. She doesn't want Regina associating too much with black people. And when England declares war on Germany, she sees it more as an inconvenience to herself than anything else. What's more, Walter is growing into a more complicated person, and Jettel doesn't know what to do about it.

Regina adapted to her situation better than her parents; adapting is what children do. Besides, Owuor is good to her. He turns out to have three wives and six children elsewhere, but he still seems to put more time and effort toward making Regina happy than her parents do. Jettel is worried that Regina is running wild, but it doesn't seem to be because she's at all worried about Regina's future. She just doesn't want to have that kind of daughter. Walter loves his daughter very much, but he's so wrapped up in finding himself and figuring out what he and his wife have in common, he can't quite give Regina what she needs. He can't even necessarily quite see it. And when Regina does go to school, she is isolated from the rest of the student body, because she is German and because she is Jewish. The headmaster (Anthony Bate) even demands to know why she spends so much of her time studying, as if there's something wrong with that.

Really, Jettel is extremely childish when she first comes to Kenya. Walter sends her explicit instructions about what it is important to bring, and she ignores them. He warns her about what life is going to be like for them, and she ignores him completely. When she gets a message from her mother (Hildegard Schmahl) and sister (Regine Zimmermann) saying that they are on their way to Poland, she insists to Walter that it is because they have found a way to escape. She essentially expects them to show up on her doorstep any minute now. Walter tries to tell her the truth, and he points out that he does not know where his father and sister (Maritta Horwarth) even is, that he has no way of knowing what has happened to them. She's lucky to know that her mother and sister are dead, because that's what that message means. Everything in the world is an inconvenience to her, and that's hard for the people around her. It's hardest for her husband and daughter, but it isn't easy for people like Owuor, either.

At that, as I said, the Redlichs are lucky. Poor and working a life to which they are unaccustomed in Africa is better than the fate the rest of their family suffered in Germany and Poland. And all three of them learn something. Walter finds out who he is in himself and what's important to him. Jettel learns what true tolerance is and even eventually grows up a little. And Regina survives to find her place in the world, whether that place is in Germany, Kenya, England, or anywhere else. She has learned how to deal with all kinds of people, a skill which is not a bad one in the years to come. Africa is a beautiful continent, and Regina is perhaps uniquely suited to help it with its problems in the coming years. Of course, she wasn't real, and there probably weren't enough real people like her--people who learned the value of differences and that single people can, if they work hard enough, make things better. Also what it is like to yourself be the outsider, an important thing to learn for everyone.
½ July 18, 2012
Over-long, but not over-wrought, Nowhere in Africa is a more than solid period piece. It's just nothing we haven't seen before.
January 13, 2012
This is an extremely well made movie. Definitely recommend. Brought back memories of my days in Zambia.
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