The Bettouns are a traditional kind of family. They decorate their homes with menorahs and affix mezuzahs to their doorposts. They gather in the synagogue for bar mitzvah services and celebrate in lavish style. And when someone dies, they immediately say the Shema: even when that person has just been thrown from a helicopter into the backyard of the family compound.
'Nowhere in Africa," Germany's Oscar entry for this year's best foreign-language film, tells the story of a Jewish family that flees Nazi Germany only to find sanctuary in a different kind of inhospitable terrain.
In the film, based on Stefanie Zweig's best-selling memoir "Nirigendwo in Afrika," the Reidlich family (Walter, Jettel and their daughter, Regina) find themselves isolated on a dusty farm in Kenya, besieged by locusts and even detained as resident enemies by the ruling British. Their dislocation nearly breaks the family apart.