I Dreamed Of Africa [DVD]  
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When Italian socialite Kuki Gallman (Kim Basinger) marries the dark and mysterious Paulo (Vincent Perez), she leaves her comfortable European existence behind and takes her young son Emanuele (Liam Aiken) to live on Paulo's remote Kenyan farm. Despite the initial seductions of the country's beauty, Kuki soon has to confront the dangers of life in the African countryside and in doing so, herself.
Based on the memoirs of party-girl-turned-conservationist Kuki Gallman, I Dreamed of Africa never comes close to living up to its title; the mood is more prosaic travelogue than oneiric wonderment. After a car accident warns Kuki of her mortality, she resolves to grow up, a process that mysteriously involves marrying a man she barely knows and moving with him and her young son to the wilds of South Africa. There she learns new beau Paolo is less reliable than she thought, but also that the sun-baked plains and roaming beasts of Africa speak to her in a way the nightlife of Italy did not. (We learn of her blossoming humanity because she introduces herself to the servants; a probing study of interpersonal relationships this isn't.) Kim Basinger obviously feels connected to the role--she can stride across a room with a majestic self-righteousness that the film should have drawn upon more--but she's defeated by a script composed of repetitive vignettes that have no cumulative effect and a director (Hugh Hudson) who keeps the film's emotional impact curiously flat and diffuse except for the crass, manipulative moments every 20 minutes or so. Sure the photography's lovely, but really, how hard is it to get a nice shot of flamingoes at dawn? --Bruce Reid, Amazon.comSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The controversial: based on the true story of a European woman remaining in Africa despite various tragedies, it raises many important questions about the confrontation of personal project vs family that are not sufficiently approached - extremely interesting food for thought and a wonderful trigger for post-movie discussion.
The good: brilliant performances by all actors, with my special preference going to Eve Saint (remember her with Marlon Brando way back?), Liam Aiken and Daniel Craig (in a small but highly accomplished role, as usual). Perez and Basinger are good at the lead, and I must say I was very surprised: not being a Basinger-fan, I was captivated by her portrait of Kiki.
All in all, recommended!
Having moved there to make a new life, she finds that her new husband has wanderlust in his soul, as well as a lust for danger and excitement, and is not much of a homebody. She is pretty much left to run the ranch and the household herself, while worrying whether her husband will return home safely from his hunting excursions with his friends. As they adjust to their new life, however, they form a deep love for Africa. Over the years, a series of mishaps and personal tragedies befall her, none of which make her lose her abiding love for Africa, where she chose to remain, despite entreaties from her mother to return home to Italy.
Kim Basinger and Vincent Perez give competent performances, as does the supporting cast, given the material with which they have to work. The cinematography is wonderful. What is wrong with the picture is that it is shallow. One never really seems to care about the characters. Nothing is ever fully explored or fleshed out. The director touches on a number of significant themes, but all are passed over, as if deemed unimportant. Consequently, the movie just aimlessly meanders along, a pleasant, though unimportant, cinematic experience.
Having moved there to make a new life, she finds that her new husband has wanderlust in his soul, as well as a lust for danger and excitement, and is not much of a homebody. She is pretty much left to run the ranch and the household herself, while worrying whether her husband will return home safely from his hunting excursions with his friends. As they adjust to their new life, however, they form a deep love for Africa. Over the years, a series of mishaps and personal tragedies befall her, none of which make her lose her abiding love for Africa, where she chooses to remain, despite entreaties from her mother to return home to Italy.
The cinematography is wonderful. What is wrong with the film is that it is shallow and never fully engages the viewer. As a result, the viewer never really seems to care about the characters, despite the fact that Kim Basinger and Vincent Perez do all they can with the pallid script. Nothing is ever explored or fleshed out. The director touches on a number of themes, but all are passed over as if deemed unimportant. Consequently, the movie just aimlessly moves along, a pleasant, though unimportant, cinematic sojourn.
Would not recommend this film at all, but WOULD recommend reading Kuki's story, as it was astounding and extremely moving.
Its a difficult task having read the book to divorce that from the film, but as a standalone piece it was enjoyable to watch, and all fell into place nicely. Nothing seemed implausible, and the cinematic views were stunning. So if you know nothing of the book then this may be worth giving a go, taste in film styles depending, this is a story piece similar to Wah-Wah [DVD] or films of that genre, however if you've read the book, then as you can see from some of the less favourable reviews, you may need to look at yourself first to decide whether or not you could ignore your expectations.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have visited Kenya frequently over the last few years and have grown to like it very, very much. The landscape photography in this film is very good, and the story is true. Read morePublished 7 months ago by varteg
it was very good realy enjoyed it it took a while for it to come but it was worth the waitePublished 17 months ago by junecooke
Dramatic true story but not for those who have never seen Africa for some of the dialogue is in Swahili.Published 20 months ago by Harrison-White
It was good. But the book was better. I suppose you could not fit the whole story on a disk, it would take forever. Anyway it was worth watchingPublished 21 months ago by veronica vlahakis-smith
Good film very entertaining with a great sound track visually stunningPublished 23 months ago by Razor