Can you describe your character, Paolo
Gallmann, for us?
Paolo is a man in love with freedom, somebody who needs to take risks in order to feel
alive. He likes Africa for its beauty, for the fascination which it holds for him. It is
where he has gotten his values and learned the laws in life. He left there after the death
of his brother. Meeting Kuki awakens something in him. They have human integrity in
common. She is like this great force of strength and it gives him hope again. Their
love will be tested as they grow to become free, without concession. It gives them the
courage to leave their present life and set out on a new one. It is one of the strong
points in their story. One needs an incredible courage to begin anew.
Did you know Africa before this film?
I knew West Africa, in particular, Senegal. I had never gone to South Africa where we
filmed. I discovered that wildlife hardly exists anymore. Man controls it. My visit to
this country will remain a fabulous memory.
How was working with Kim Basinger and Hugh Hudson?
Kim Basinger is a charming woman who immerses herself completely in whatever she does. I
found that she has much in common with Kuki Gallmann. At first she was afraid of the
animals, of the bad weather. Hugh is somebody who I enormously appreciate. He has this
education, these good British manners, and a remarkable capacity for listening. He is
never impatient, and even in the bush, he can create a climate of confidence and security.
Did you meet the real Kuki?
Kim and I agreed not to meet her until the film was finished. Her book was a source of
inspiration and information for me. To meet her would have paralyzed our acting. It was
necessary that we develop our characters. She saw the film at the same time as us in Rome
and she liked it very much.
Which memory will you keep?
Strong images. The memory goes beyond the simple work of an actor. Kim, Hugh, the
remainder of the team have made this film a human experiment by their qualities. The film
recalls a destiny of a rare intensity. Africa lends itself to these absolute feelings.
Over there, it is always a question of life and death. Nature and man fight under the same
conditions to survive. It is a great lesson. The story of Kuki and Paolo also speaks about