An extraordinary evening…Out of Africa, the movie, while living in Africa…

Watching this movie last night had a special meaning for us.

While living in Tuscany, Italy we watched the movie, “Under the Tuscan Sun,” becoming delighted scene after scene of the mention of familiar language, towns foods and customs.  Several years ago, having watched the movie On Demand, Tom read the newspaper in the background, while I drooled over its content.  He referred to it as a “chick flick.” 

Once we were living in Tuscany, we watched it together with a new meaning for both of us.  No longer was Tom grumbling about the “chick flick” factor.  Instead, he was pleasantly surprised by how much we related to its contents.

The replication of the house that Karen Blixen, a writer depicted in her true story, the basis
of the movie.

Isn’t that typical? Having an experience of our own we often find that we become entrenched in a similar experience presented by others; in a story told, a book or a movie.

Last night, this is exactly what transpired for us as we watched yet another timely movie, “Out of Africa,” while sitting in the dark in our outdoor living room munching on nuts, wearing our BugsAway clothing.

The household staff played substantial roles in the movie, as they do here in Kenya in our lives.

I won’t bore you with the romantic storyline of the movie.  Perhaps you too had seen the movie years ago after being released in 1985.  After considerable research this morning, we discovered that none of the film was actually filmed in Africa, although much of the scenery depicted included various parts of the bush, Ngong Hills, the Masai Mara and the Maasi people, all of which according to our experiences, were well represented.  Where the movie was filmed was of little concern to us.

What prompted us to watch the movie, more than anything, was when Anderson, our fabulous guide while on safari in the Masai Mara, pointed out an area that was filmed on site that actually appears in the movie.  And yes, last night, we recognized that very spot, reveling in its familiarity.

Although, when watching a movie we don’t dwell on, “Gee…where was this filmed?”  Instead, we focus of the realistic depiction of a place we may have visited at some point in our lives.  After all, it is a movie: A step outside of our own reality to engage in a compelling story that satisfies our minds and emotions, sufficiently taking us outside of our own lives for a short period of time.  Mission accomplished.

This is the veranda to the house that was built for filming the movie in England. It was only yesterday that Tom and I commented that we’ll have to stop calling “porches, decks and patios” a “veranda” after we’ll arrive in Hawaii, where of course, they’re referred to as the “lanai.”  It was only recently that Tom finally stopped saying “grazie” for thank you, when in fact, “asante” is most appropriate while in Kenya!

But, last night, as while in Tuscany, we found ourselves slapping each other’s knees time and again, in a sheer state of enjoyment as we watched the movie’s details unfold, so much of which has become familiar to us over these past three months living in Kenya, where the movie’s story line occurred.

Particularly, we embraced the representation of the wildlife, the Maasai people, the familiar words in the Swahili language, the traditions and the scenery bringing us back to the glorious safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya, an experience embedded into our hearts and minds forever.

Review of “Out of Africa” by now deceased reviewer Roger Ebert

Music from “Out Of Africa”

Meryl Streep and Robert Redford both played award winning roles in the movie which won the Academy Award that year for the best picture with Meryl winning best actress award.  Redford won as best actor in other awards granted to foreign films.

This link to the Youtube full video of Out of Africa can’t be played here in Africa in order for us to test it, as is the case when we try to connect to certain other websites as the servers detect that we’re in Africa or out of the US.  Please try this link if you’re interested in watching the movie. 

In the event this link doesn’t work for you, it can readily be watched on Netflix, Hulu and others and may also be offered for free from your cable company from Movies on Demand.  There are also numerous websites that offer the full movie at no cost, by using a search engine (such as Google), entering:  Out of Africa video.

As the movie was ending, the battery on my laptop indicated it was running out of juice. Quickly, we moved to the glass table, close to the only electric plugin (using our converter and adapter) in our outdoor living room, as we watched the ending. (No spoiler alert here).

This blurry photo (almost 30 years old) has significance after watching the movie.

Need I say, we loved every moment of this movie as it reminded us over and over as to why we came to Kenya.  As depicted by Meryl Streep in the film, “I had a farm in Africa,”  I was reminded of my own words notched into my memory for as long as I can remember, of “I had a dream of Africa” that now, has finally been realized. 

Never in our wildest dream did we ever believe we’d actually come to Africa.  We pinch ourselves almost daily, hardly believing this is our lives.

Three months from now, we’ll begin packing to head to Morocco.  There’s a movie we’ll be watching after we’ve been in Morocco for awhile, “Casablanca,” a movie we’ll surely watch again, with new eyes, new hearts and new minds.

Comments and responses An extraordinary evening…Out of Africa, the movie, while living in Africa…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    I clicked on the youtube link to the "Out of Africa" movie and it was a 3 minute preview. But the preview was enough to remind me what the movie was about, besides Africa. We saw it when it first came out and both loved it.

    I know it would be exciting to see a movie where parts of it was done in the exact spot where you are now living. I was surprised when you said it was not all done in Africa. That was disappointing. The lion picture would give me chills because it was so much like what you and Tom have seen. And the scene of them eating on the veranda was like your outdoor quarters. Except where you are looks more beautiful.

    I just thought of a theme for your novel, or maybe the title. Your statement "I had a dream of Africa", and then build from there. I think that would be perfect. And you could build on it from your entire trip around the world. It does not just have to include Africa but the dream could entail all of your travels. Wow, that makes me excited to think about.

    And then to watch Under the Tuscan Sun while in Tuscany, is just too much! I am glad Tom liked it the second time around. I loved it also. Also Casablanca will be perfect for Morocco. Wasn't it nice of them to have made movies of everywhere you want to travel. ha-ha; so much fun! Oh, and don't forget "Blue Hawaii" for when you are in Hawaii. But that is mostly about Elvis.

    Until tomorrow!

    Your friend and pen pal,

  2. Jessica Reply

    Gee…thanks for thinking of book titles. Cute idea but it might be some type of copyright infringement sounding so familiar to the words in the movie. The hard parts about writing books these days is the eventual disappearance of the "hand held" book to ebooks, the less revenue generated by ebook sales, making it less profitable and the necessary public appearances in order to promote the book. Giving up our lives to do public appearances would be like "working" again and we wouldn't want that.

    So, we remain content writing here each day, hoping our readers and family members are enjoying it and hoping to leave a legacy for our grandchildren and their grandchildren to come.

    Just think. Your comments also, leave a place for your grandchildren to visit, to be reminded of your well written thoughts and kind soul.

    Your comments are so meaningful and thoughtful, each time you write. Thanks for being YOU!

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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