1938. The affluent Jewish Redlich family are forced to abandon their comfortable existence in Germany and settle in Kenya where they struggle for acceptance and their own emotional stability.
Caroline Link's adaptation of Stefanie Zweig's autobiographical novel is a triumph of harmony between form and content.
Following the wartime relocation of a Jewish-German family to farmland in Africa, it could so easily have fallen into turgid melodrama, but this is avoided at (almost) every turn. And though the stunning widescreen cinematography by Gernot Roll perfectly captures the achingly beautiful Kenyan landscapes, this is no vacuous travelogue.
Strong performances abound - Lea Kurka as the young Regina provides a solid centre for the first half of the film, whilst Karoline Eckertz as the older Regina is the compelling focus for the latter parts.
Occasionally the film suffers from oversimplification (particularly in its depiction of Owuor, the family's cook) and there are some odd directorial tics - too many jarring zooms, for example - but they haven't prevented a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Lavish, sweeping and beautifully realised, it somehow manages to avoid mawkish sentimentality.