Appreciation of out of Africa from The Intercultural Communication Perspective
Abstract : out of Africa, directed by Sydney Pollack, is one of the best movies in American film history. It tells a story happened between European settlers and African natives during 1914~1931. Through showing the leader actress’s love, marriage, life style and her experiences in Africa, the movie presents the audience a cultural feast. This paper tries to appreciate the movie from an intercultural communication perspective by analyzing some scenes and words in the movie. First, to analyze some plots from an verbal and nonverbal visual angle. Then, to understand a story happened between Karen and a little black boy based on the effective communication principle. Last, to appreciate the interesting words from the theory of language’s reflection on environment. At last, the writer’s view is given that : all culture is equal.
Key Words: out of Africa communication intercultural communication perspective analysis
Out of Africa is a great movie adapted by Karen Blixen’s novel. The writer tells an interesting story that she experienced in her African farmland in a flashback. Besides the beautiful love story between the two main characters and the amazing scenery of Africa, this movie conveys a lot of things which is worth thinking deeply. In this paper, I would like to express my thoughts from the intercultural communication perspective. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of communication: verbal communication and nonverbal communication, and two sorts of people: the Africans and the Whites, or the natives and the foreigners. I will pick some main characters to analyze their actions and words and finally figure out how this intercultural communication goes on and what influence it has on both sides. For the natives, I will choose Farah Aden (the chief actress’ servant), the Kinanjui ( the Chief of the Kikuyu), Kamante ( a young black boy that Karen once saved and became her cook after that) and Kanuthia ( the man of Denys and who I think represent the Masai); For the foreigners, of course, it is Karen (the heroine), Bror(Karen’s husband) and Denys (Karen’s lover). Moreover, i would like to divide this film into two periods, maybe not so exactly, one is from Karen first stepped into the land of Africa to she got syphilis and had to come back to Europe , the other is from Karen back again to Africa to she eventually left there. There were quite a few scenes in the film showing the nonverbal communication between Karen and the Natives, which mostly showed in the first period yet was never left aside throughout the whole movie. By flashing such short shots, the director showed this nonverbal communication in a very interesting or thought provoking way. For example, the black kids would stand outside Karen’s door and watched her clock where a wooden bird stand, and when it tweeted,the kids would flock to run away; When Karen first came to her house in the farm at night, there was a shot that a black man holding his spear flew away quickly to the dark forest as soon as he saw Karen’s carriage. Similar cases happened no less than three times in the film, which will certainly make us think a question __ why a native person would hide away from a foreigner in his own’s motherland? The same scene that a kid put his hand to Karen’s pocket for candy was showed three times in the movie, respectively in the several days later after Karen’s coming, in the first day of her returning back__when another black boy sent her a lovely bird to welcome her back, and in the night that her factory was firing. Each time it remarked that the relationship between Karen and the native has become closer and deeper. What’s more, there are several really short while meaningful scenes: like, Farah has always been insisting to change the flower on Karen’s dresser every morning during Karen’s leaving days; on the way to send her husband...
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