[Screengrabs from Out of Africa.]
Visually, my favorite scenes from Out of Africa are the ones shot outdoors -- I love the light, the landscape and all those tall boots the characters are wearing. But the New Year's Eve scene is magical, too.
Throughout the film, Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton (Meryl Streep and Robert Redford) are rarely seen rubbing shoulders with the other European colonialists. For New Year's, though, they join the crowd at the club in town. The tree is decorated simply (from what I can tell with red candles, a few white or silver snowflakes and ropes of silver).
The real visual contrast comes in with the paper decorations. Clear, bright, primary-colored paper balls, bells and garland stand out against the very grown-up neutrals and metallics of the party-goers' fancy dress. Truth be told, I don't know a lot about the history of crêpe paper but, as I understand it, party decorations made from the crinkled, textile-like material were widely marketed in the first quarter of the 20th century. So, the movie's whimsical paper embellishments seem period perfect. (In Atlanta we have the Williams Paper Museum at Georgia Tech. Hidden Treasures: Marbling from the Permanent Collection will be on view there January 27 through March 2011.)
As wonderfully retro as the crêpe paper and silly hats are, I think the blizzard of confetti and streamers falling all around Streep's and Redford's shoulders are most memorable.
Just a reminder: holiday wrapping paper and ribbon that's too crumpled to be reused on future packages can still be recycled as confetti!
[Image ©Kate Headley. Posted with permission from the photographer, Kate, and the bride, Janet Blyberg.]
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