The White Masai Hermine Huntgeburth

The White Masai Hermine Huntgeburth

Rendered beautiful by virtue of the glorious Kenyan landscape, rather than any distinct artistic flair by the filmmakers, this adaptation of Corinne Hofmann’s autobiography may be best served by its unobtrusive style. A German production spoken in German, English and Maa, The White Masai is, surprisingly, a true story of a Swiss tourist who leaves her boyfriend while on vacation, staying in Africa to search for a Masai warrior from the Samburu tribe who she met briefly and fell instantly in love with. A shockingly impulsive decision perhaps informed in no small part by lust and a fascination with the exotic, Carola nonetheless invests fully in her instincts. After tracking down her beloved Lemalian and giving herself to him in the first of many experiences that are far less romantic than her doe-eyed expectations, Carola returns to his village, soon agreeing to sell her store in Switzerland and marry into the tribe. This idealistic young lady is in no way prepared for the harsh cultural differences between life in Europe and life in the African outback, and has no real intention of learning or adapting. It isn’t long before Carola begins imposing her ways upon the tribe, first buying a vehicle and eventually opening a general store in the village, not that there was any need beyond her own desire to eat more than goat and sugar. Both leads do a convincing job portraying two lovers who let their lack of understanding undermine their respect for each other. Being a true story, Corola and Lemalian aren’t terribly redeeming in their actions, but such misguided insecurities are part of life and The White Masai doesn’t try to be anything more than a telling of their attempts at reconciling their love with the way they choose to live. (Mongrel Media)