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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



LOOKING BACK, Cinema's greatest moments... OUT OF AFRICA (1985)


As another Oscar season has passed us by and three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep has won yet another Academy Award for Best Actress, I think it's time to mention one of my favorite films of all time, one I must admit I watch once a month- OUT OF AFRICA (1985).

Why people so often refer to it as a ‘chick flick’ is beyond me when it is a Sydney Pollack film and one of Hollywood’s greatest canonic triumphs. Universal’s “Out of Africa”, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1985, always leaves me speechless when I see its stunning images: bird’s eye views over the African Serengeti plains with African wildlife roaming freely below, and then John Barry’s mesmerizing film score taking us to another world in a bygone era.

Based on the novel “Out of Africa” by Karen Blixen, the film is exquisitely shot in the Ngong Jills outside Nairobi. It is a perfect ill-fated love story between Karen (played by Meryl Streep) and Denys (by Robert Redford). Karen wants to own everything and lay claim to what is hers- ‘my Kikuyu, my land, my china’- whereas Denys understands all too clearly (a lesson he learned living in Africa) that nothing in life can be owned, everything is on loan to us until inevitable death. Karen wants to be married, Denys wants to be free; Karen wants to tame the land, Denys wants to roam it; Karen tells stories, Denys lives them; Africa is wild, Europe is controlled and civilized- Karen and Denys, Europe and Africa- they are the perfect opposites, doomed to fail. And, yet, was ever a love story so perfect as the one that is so impossible?


-written by Vanessa McMahon, March 5th, 2012


see a trailer with score here:


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