We’re about to take our big trip to Africa and thought you could come along, at least in a vicarious sense. I put together a small list of some of my favorite films about Africa that might let you escape there for at least an hour.
The contemporary films out there aren’t exactly relaxing; films like Blood Diamond, Last King of Scotland, and Hotel Rwanda are great films, but not kind of escapism we’re going for. I want the vicarious traveler to relax and enjoy, not feel like they have to escape a dangerous situation.
The first film I’ll recommend is one of my favorites: 1985’s Out of Africa starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. For being almost 30 years old, the film doesn’t show its age at all. You will get caught up in the scenery and the love story.
The second film is a classic in every the sense of the word: The African Queen, staring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. The 1951 film takes place during World War I as a riverboat captain with a drinking problem ferries a missionary down the river to Lake Victoria. The African Queen is a romance with action and adventure, and shot entirely in black and white. I whole-heartedly recommend this movie for its nostalgic, if somewhat dated, view of the Dark Continent, and the classic adventure tale.
Disney Nature’s African Cats a wonderful documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson that follows two families of big cats as they teach their cubs how to survive in the wild. I remember as a kid Disney produced dozens of nature documentaries and being riveted by them, this one with its spectacular visuals doesn’t disappoint.
The fourth film is truly a dream, I Dreamed of Africa, the 2000 film staring Kim Basinger. The story of a widow and her family moving to Kenya with a new husband and starting a cattle ranch is real story of determination. I know many of us dream of living in the midst of beautiful African vistas, but this film reminds us that it’s also filled with murderous poachers, lions, snakes and tribal customs that need to be learned to survive.
While not technically a movie, the Africa episode of Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth was amazing. The video is captivating. You see the animals of the savanna great and small living, surviving and thriving. I am still amazed as they did an aerial chase of a pack of wild dogs on a hunt. You get to see them use complex strategies to encircle their prey. The episode on a wide screen is as close to an actual safari as you can get without leaving your living room.
We’ll be back from our own safari soon and we promise plenty of posts and pictures for you to peruse.