Movie ~ Topic 1 ~ Out of Africa ~ Trailer

Director: Sidney Pollack ~ Main Actors: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer

 

Plot Overview ~ adapted from Wikipedia ~ Genre: Biography, Historical Adaptation, Drama

 

Read the text and discuss the follow-up questions:

 

The story begins in 1913 in Denmark, when Karen Dinesen (Meryl Streep), a wealthy but unmarried woman, asks her friend Baron Bror Blixen (Klaus Maria Brandauer) to enter into a marriage of convenience with her. Although Bror is a member of the aristocracy, he is no longer financially secure He therefore agrees to the marriage, and the two of them plan to move to Africa to begin a dairy farm.

 

Upon moving to British East Africa, Karen marries Bror in a brief ceremony, thus becoming Baroness Blixen. She meets Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford), a local big-game hunter with whom she develops a close friendship. However, things turn out differently from her expectations, since Bror has used her money to purchase a coffee plantation rather than a dairy farm. He also shows little inclination to put any real work into it, preferring instead to become a game hunter. Although theirs was a marriage of convenience, Karen does eventually develop feelings for Bror, but she is distressed when she learns of his extramarital affairs. To make matters worse, Karen contracts syphilis from Bror (at the time, cures were uncertain) and is forced to return to Denmark for a long and difficult period of treatment. Bror agrees to look after the plantation in her absence.

 

After she has recovered and returns to Africa, the First World War is drawing to an end. However, it becomes clear that her marriage to the womanizing Bror has not changed, and she eventually asks him to move out of their house. No longer able to have children of her own due to the effects of the syphilis, she decides to open a school and teach to the African tribal children of the area. However, her coffee plantation runs into financial difficulties, and she is forced to rely on bank loans to make ends meet.

 

~ General Conversation Questions ~

 

Group A

 

1) Karen Blixen used the pen name Isak Denisen. Are women writers discriminated against in your society?

2) According to the plot, why did Karen want to go to Africa? Why did she marry the Baron?

3) What is a ¡°marriage of convenience¡± versus an ¡°arranged marriage¡±? Can either succeed? Explain.

4) Is the movie plot realistic? Is there anything in the movie that isn¡¯t believable? Discuss.

5) How accurate can an auto-biographical novel be? Do you think this story is true?

 

Group B

 

1) How accurate can a film adaptation of a novel be? Have you ever read a novel and seen the movie?

2) What does this story reveal about the European/African experience and history? Explain.

3) Define ¡°adventure¡±. Have you ever had an adventure? Tell your experience.

4) What adventure would you like to have in the future? Do you have a phobia that would prevent it?

5) Are adventures always dangerous? Are there such things as small adventures? What would they be?

 

Challenge: Make your own follow-up questions and discuss them.

 

 

 

 

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Procedures:                                                                                                                 Print Questions: .docx / .doc

 

1) Watch and Listen to the video trailer and read the text preview

2) Clarify meaning as a class (including comprehension and vocabulary)

3) In pairs or in groups, discuss the vocabulary and movie content

a) If you¡¯ve seen the movie, tell the rest of the story¡¦

b) If you haven¡¯t seen the movie, talk about what you think happens next¡¦

4) In pairs or in groups, discuss the conversation questions

5) As a class, take turns using the conversation questions to expand your ideas

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