01/19/2012

Meryl Streep: then and now

Yesterday, 18 January, TSR2 showed the beautiful film "Out of Africa", including some exquisite aerial photography. Meryl Streep was fantastic then, and still is now.


Although the film won 7 Academy Awards, Meryl Streep did not get an Oscar for her performane. I personally think she deserved one, especially for her ability to adopt a realistic Danish accent. This was not evident last night, since despite what was written in the TV programme magazines, the film was not shown in dual sound (why did this not happen?). However, looking up some sequences on Youtube, in particular the opening few minutes, helped me to remember this.

The book on which the film was based - written by Karen von Blixen-Finecke under the pen name Isak Dinesen and published in 1937 - is one of those books which has a memorable opening line

"I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills"

and I deeply regretted not hearing Meryl Streep speak those original lines: the dubbed version, though excellent, is never the same thing.

The aerial scenes of East Africa, showing wonderful footage of animals and birds, were probably not taken from the Tiger Moth aircraft shown in the film. The registration of this aircraft, G-AAMT, is one of many British aircraft listed in a Civil Aircraft Register entitled "Golden Years of Aviation".

After the end of the film there was an advance notice to say that from next Saturday we can see more vivid scenery, but from a much colder region of earth. The first of the series of 6 documentaries entitled "The Frozen Planet" (Terres de Glace in French), made under the direction of Sir Richard Attenborough, will be shown at 1h50 pm. I have already praised this series, and the Télétop Matin current issue echoes my praise when writing that each of these series shares the same fault: it only lasts 50 minutes.

Coming back to the actress Meryl Streep, it is widely forecast that she will win an Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady". It is somewhat of a strange coincidence that the Falklands Islands (Malouines) conflict, which was partly responsible for Mrs Thatcher's reputation, took place 30 years ago, and that the current Prime Minister is again coming under pressure from Argentina to give back the islands. Will he have the same authority and resolve as Mrs Thatcher, famously described by French president Mitterrand as having "the eyes of Caligula"?

Meanwhile, as portrayed in the film, Margaret Thatcher is in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease, an illness which is increasing in frequency with the improved medical treatments for other previously fatal diseases. I do not look forward to seeing this part of the film.

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