Synopsis by Mark Deming
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 does his father, Max (Gerd Heinz), and Jettel's sister, Kaethe (Regine Zimmermann). In time, as the pogroms against the Jews increase in Germany, Jettel and Regina join Walter in Kenya, but the transition is not easy for Walter, who is still learning the nuts and bolts of running the farm (and discovers that Germans are not welcomed by the British settlers in Kenya), or Jettel, who is not accustomed to physical labor and resents having to help with the farming. While Regina at first finds her new surroundings alienating and unfamiliar, she soon becomes fascinated with the rugged beauty of Kenya and becomes fast friends with Owuor (Sidede Onyulo), who serves as the family's cook. In time, Germany invades Africa, and Walter finds himself in a British internment camp; Jettel and Regina also are captured, but Jettel uses her sexual allure to persuade a British officer to arrange for Walter to be put in charge of another farm, and Regina is sent to a boarding school for girls. After the war, the Redlichs must decide whether to remain in Kenya or to return to the country that would have persecuted them.
expatriate, Africa, farmland, immigrant, Jewish, political-refugee, Third-Reich, transition, tribe