365 High-Def Days of Oscar: Day 80
Best Art Direction
Best Original Score
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Costume Design
THE PLOT THUS FAR
In 20th century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate but ultimately doomed love affair with a free-sprited big-game hunter.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Out of Africa shows Karen Blixen’s life as she adjusts to the African lifestyle while romancing Denys (Redford) and divorcing Bror (Klaus). The opening itself talks of the farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills and is voiced by Streep in a very distinctive accent. Many of her performances, especially the ones where she uses accents, are slightly difficult to accept first but shine later, even though she does sound like Sly Stallone at times, especially when she says in one scene “I want you to come home”. Karen marries Bror to retain her title of baroness and moves to Africa. Bror uses her money against her wishes and doesn’t take care of her properly. Karen meets Denys and another guy, and invites them to her home. Both the guys are attracted to her but things go awry for one. Denys and Karen fall in love but Denys lives a very different life, independent like Karen but in a nomadic way. Karen runs the entire farm, opens up a school and acquaints and adjusts herself with the Africans.
From a sociological perspective, Karen Blixen is an independent woman living in a world where few women have power and there are many double standards. For instance, Baroness Blixen has trouble finding a husband after she loses her virginity to her lover. Virginity is scared within society and during this particular time period. She is able to embrace her free spiritedness in Kenya. In Kenya, she owns her own cocoa plantation. Her husband comes and goes. He really has no authority over her. She does as he pleases including having a love affair with Dennis (Robert Redford).
Dennis is another interesting and complex character. He has a free spirit like Karen Blixen. Unlike the baroness he does not believe in the idea of marriage. He is willing to move his material possessions in with the Baroness, but he loves his freedom and doesn’t want to settle. He seems love the Baroness but struggles with the society’s constructed ideas of partnership. This is a man who does not want to be held down by anyone. He wants to roam free and like the African animals in the wild. Another sociological aspect I noticed was how White Europeans attempted to civilize or Westernize the natives. Baroness Blixen herself wanted to start a school as he maternal instincts began to kick in and she could have children. The Baroness and many Europeans at the time did not have any respect and understand African culture and political structure and only interested in changing it to be like their own. They did not understand the idea of coexisting and having tolerance. Although, the European colonist see it as doing good, they do not realize how disrespectful to settle on tribal land and then impost their beliefs on them.
The Blu-Ray comes with a feature length documentary, commentary, featurettes and deleted scenes. Plus, you get a digital copy and DVD copy. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp for a drama, but it’s Africa and you should expect some epic setups. That being said, the 1080p transfer makes the most out of the African Safari setups. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio makes the most out of the WWI era action, but it’s the film that speaks for itself. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!