Remembering and retrieving the past: Edgar Reitz's Heimat (1984)



Kilborn R (1995) Remembering and retrieving the past: Edgar Reitz's Heimat (1984). Forum for Modern Language Studies, 31 (1), pp. 84-98.

First paragraph: Of all the films to come out of Germany in the 1980s, none created greater stir than Edgar Reitz's epic 15 1/2-hour work Heimat. First broadcast in Germany as an eleven-part television series in 1984, Heimat was very favourably received by the German television public and was subsequently given theatrical releases at various film festivals at home and abroad. It was both a popular and a critical success, and was regarded by many as representing an important statement on twentieth-century German history. In the words of one reviewer: "Heimat is not only the fulfilment of all the hopes of the New German Cinema over the past few decades, but should also go down as a milestone in contemporary film history." Spurred on by the success of Heimat, which covered events in the lives of three families in a fictional Hunsruck village from 1919 to 1982, Reitz almost immediately began to give thought to a follow-up work. Die zweite Heimat, which received its premiere at the Venice film festival in September 1992 - whilst trading on audiences' familiarity with the earlier work -, is conceived not so much as a continuation of Heimat as a "notwendige Erganzung aus einem anderen Blickwinkel erzahlt". It is moreover of even more epic proportions than its forebear. Described as "der vermudich langste Spielfilm der Filmgeschichte", it runs for a full twenty-six hours.

Forum for Modern Language Studies: Volume 31, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/1995
PublisherOxford University Press

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Professor Richard Kilborn

Professor Richard Kilborn

Honorary Professor, Communications, Media and Culture