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NOWHERE IN AFRICA – Niki Reiser

March 7, 2003 Leave a comment

nowhereinafricaOriginal Review by Peter Simons

Nowhere In Africa (or, in its native German, “Nirgendwo In Afrika”) tells the tragic story of a Jewish family that moves from Germany to Kenya just before WWII in 1938. There, in Africa, they start a farm, but not all members of the family can get used to their new lives. However, the war in Europe makes it impossible for them to return back home. So, all anyone can do is try and make the best out of things. The film was written and directed by Caroline Link, who based her screenplay on the book by Stefanie Zweig. Quite surprisingly, this German film nabbed the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s ceremony. This is the third time Swiss composer Niki Reiser composed a score for director Link. They previously worked together on Jenseits Der Stille (Beyond The Silence, 1996) and Pünktchen Und Anton (Annaluise & Anton, 1999). The soundtrack for Nowhere In Africa is a lovely combination of European and African music. There are bittersweet string chords that could have sprung from the minds of James Horner or Rachel Portman, a theme for oboe that’s quite reminiscent of the theme from The English Patient and there’s quite a bit of mellow African percussion and chanting. There are, unfortunately, a few things working against this score, but ultimately the music is just too darn nice to be really upset by its shortcomings. Read more…

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