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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: go, girl — go to Africa

It’s one of the great feminist stories, and one of my favorite discoveries of my grand Oscar marathon. From my review of Out of Africa, the Best Picture winner from 1985:

But it’s also a world far enough removed from proper society that a woman can break free of the constraints placed upon her by dint of her gender, to such an extent that even today Karen seems modern. When the Great War breaks out and the Germans begin rattling their sabers nearby, Bror rides off with a provisional army to hold them at bay, leaving Karen to run the plantation — and run it well — on her own. When he sends a request for supplies, she sets off on a harrowing journey to bring them to the men herself, saying in the end that “it was fun.” She fights a lion with a bullwhip and shoots another dead with one shot. She has a refreshingly grown-up, realistic attitude about men: Her husband may be a philanderer, and she may not be in love with him, but she certainly likes to have sex with him. (Her young friend Felicity echoes Karen’s sensibility when she says, “I want [men] to like me but I also want to be let alone.”) And Karen has no qualms about kicking Bror out when he oversteps even Karen’s loose bounds, or having an affair with the free-spirited big-game hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford).

review of Out of Africa, posted 03.09.99

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