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Heimat - A Chronicle of Germany
Heimat - A Chronicle of Germany
Actors: Marita Breuer, Eva Maria Schneider, Kurt Wagner, Rüdiger Weigang, Johannes Lobewein
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2005     15hr 25min

Edgar Reitz?s monumental 11-part series Heimat tells the story of Schabbach, a German village in the Hunruck region, from 1919 to 1982. The story unfolds through the eyes of Maria Simon as she marries, raises her sons, and...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Marita Breuer, Eva Maria Schneider, Kurt Wagner, Rüdiger Weigang, Johannes Lobewein
Creators: Edgar Reitz, Hans Kwiet, Joachim von Mengershausen
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Studio: Facets
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/30/2005
Original Release Date: 03/31/1985
Theatrical Release Date: 03/31/1985
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 15hr 25min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaDVD Credits: 6
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French, German
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Avoid this Facets Video release... Get the Region 2 Version
dooby | 08/26/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Heimat or Homeland tells the history of Germany through the eyes of the extended multi-generational Simon family who hail from the fictional rural village of Schabbach in the Hunsrück.

It is a great TV series, one of the few that can truly be called epic. The original 16 hour long miniseries eventually spawned 2 sequels to form the Heimat Trilogy which runs for a total of 54 hours. This present release is the original 16 hour miniseries now also known as Heimat I, and essentially follows the life of Maria Simon from the age of 17 in the aftermath of the First World War, through the rise of Nazism, the destruction of the Second World War, the rebuilding of Germany and its subsequent prosperity. It spans the years from 1919 to 1982 and ends with the passing of Maria. Filmed in 1984 for German TV, it features over 140 speaking roles and has literally a cast of thousands. Heimats II and III chronicle the life of Maria's son and take us through German reunification and into the new millennium. Throughout it seamlessly marries the epic sweep of history with the personal and intimate lives of its participants.

The original 16 hour Heimat won the FIPRESCI Prize (awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics) at the 1984 Venice Film Festival. Its sequel, the 26 hour long "Die Zweite Heimat" (Heimat II) took home the Special Jubilee Prize at the 1992 Venice Film Festival.

This monumental series certainly deserves a lot better than what Facets Video has provided. The Facets release comes with a soft, blurry picture. Colors are washed out. It is like watching a video tape. The reason is that it was transferred from a Beta cam video source. The picture quality is in short horrendous. To top it off, the large English subtitles are not removable. They are permanently burnt onto the film.

There is a Region 2 version released in November 2004 (on Tartan Video). It is superior in every way imaginable and despite its higher price is the preferred choice. The picture quality there is superb because it was mastered from the original film source. The image is clear and sharp. Colors are rich and vibrant. The English subtitles are optional and can be removed. It is treated in a way that befits this grand epic. The presentation is also so much more attractive; it comes in the form of a thick hardcover book with dark leather binding and gilt edges. You can see a review and comparison of both versions at [...]. Avoid this Facets release. The Region 2 version is still available from Amazon UK although it is supposed to be a limited release. Don't be swayed by the cheaper Facets version. It does not do justice to this monumental work. Get the original. Keep in mind that your DVD player must be able to play back Region 2 discs and your system must have native PAL capability. German and UK programs are all recorded in PAL format, not the standard American NTSC."
Great film/series; appallingly shoddy, ill-conceived dvd
John Dunlevy | Chicago, IL USA | 09/08/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Facets had previously released Heimat on VHS. I've seen the VHS release, and it's pretty good. Unfortunately for the DVD, it appears Facets simply re-used their VHS master. (I don't know this to be true, but that's certainly how it *looks*. Rumor on the internet seems to be the source was 1" Beta tape; I wonder if this was the same source used for the VHS.) The effect is this DVD has the quality of a bad bootleg: the color is washed out and the picture much, much less than crisp.

Most infuriating: the package says "in German with English subtitles." The subtitles, however, are nothing like "subtitles" in any DVD-sense of the word: they were present on the analog video master -- and sure do appear to be the same titles as the VHS edition. As such, they are *part* of the film and CANNOT BE TURNED OFF. Plus, the titles are white letters on a black field (like closed captioning), so they really obscure a significant portion of the frame. If you understand German this will be especially infuriating; if you don't understand German, these "subtitles" will be less readable than the proper "subtitles" on other DVDs.

Sometimes, it may well be reasonable to release a DVD mastered from a relatively low quality source -- as when high quality sources no longer exist. In this case, though, Facets has no excuse: Tartan released a region 2 DVD of Heimat in the UK (available from which was reportedly beautifully done and with proper DVD subtitles. (There are also German and Dutch editions, but, unfortunately, neither has English-language subtitles.)"
Experiencing History ... Again?
MarmiteMan | Norwich, England | 02/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There's no denying this, but I had heard of Edgar Reitz's 1984 magnum opus but paid little heed to this 923-minute arthouse epic upon its release and the various reviews accompanying it. Then in 1992, completely Unemployed/able, bankrupt (both financially and spiritually) and [upset] as friends went out for drinks/girls/A Good Time on a Saturday night, as one does ... I thought I'd give this much-vaunted German drama a go.The first TV episode (of eleven) was two hours long and I anticipated my friends returning somewhat worse for drink during it ... But they did not return, which was fortunate as ... I watched open-mouthed with wondrous appreciation of the sheer and heart-warming brilliance of a simple tale of everyday vicissitudes and emotions spanning sixty-three years of a small Hunsrück village's history, most of it seen through the eyes of Maria (Marita Breuer). Slow-moving it certainly is, with many of the black & white and colour outdoor scenes carefully composed tableaux ... but it was soooo captivating ...Many languages and cultures have words or concepts that do not fully translate into other languages. The Dutch have 'gezellig' (~ cosy, comfortable, together). The English have 'fair' (~ honest, sporting, equitable). In the German-speaking lands Heimat means 'homeland' ... and more than that: it also means family, belonging, the roots, heart, soul and lifeblood of that homeland. Already part of German literature, the Heimatroman of the Third Reich was one of only four 'acceptable' genres in literature. That may make it somewhat un-PC today, but still, it was the most 'tame' of that vile ideology's strands of Blut und Boden: the yearning of, and for, the home soil ...There's also a lot of balderdash posited and hypothisized about the true meaning of the concept 'Heimat.' "Four phases parallel Germany's discontinuous history: Heimat literature as a response to modernization and to regional tensions before World War I; the inter-war period when Heimat divided into racist ideology, left-wing opposition, and inner resistance to the Third Reich; a post-war dialectic between escapist 1950s Heimat films and right-wing claims to the lost lands in the East to which anti-Heimat theatre and films in the 1960s and 1970s were a response, with the urban Heimat in GDR films adding a socialist twist; regionalism and green politics in the 1980s and German identity beyond Cold War divisions. A key point of reference in debates on German history, Heimat looks likely to continue in postmodern and multicultural mode."The fictional village of Schabbach (probably situated in the stretch between Emmelshausen and Boppard?) is, like many small villages throughout the numerous German uplands, quite remote and isolated from the hubbub of German cities - certainly before the radio age. Social contrasts are as great as those between small-town America in the Midwest and the great cities along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It remains charmingly untouched by the Big Bad World despite the encroachments of time, ideology and modernity.Cannot help wondering if James Cameron saw the final episode, "Das Fest der Lebenden und die Töten," with Maria joining the spirits of the village's departed - P>Watching HEIMAT, EIN DEUTSCHE CHRONIK over the eleven weeks was a genuinely unforgettable experience. Have since availed myself of the 6-volume VHS set of this 'First Heimat' (the second, set in München in the turbulent student year 1968. But since receiving the videos, it took a while to actually sit down and watch all the episodes (have done so now!). Confess to having put it off, put it off [repetition intentional] ... knowing that with each episode's viewing I'd sit there mouth-gaping and watery-eyed (probably quite embarrassing) with all telephones disconnected/switched-off and bottles of German wine or wheat beer suitably chilled and at hand. But even upon watching HEIMAT again, I was surprised just how much could be remembered with so little effort. So deeply ingrained and memorable, both in mind and in soul, was the first viewing in 1992 that it was almost a real-life experience: of having also 'lived' those years as part of Schabbach and its people ..."
One of the great works of film art
David Edelberg | Chicago, IL USA | 10/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an astonishing piece of filmmaking that becomes more and more absorbing with each successive episode. You can spread the experience over several days or immerse yourself in a Heimat weekend. In either case, you'll likely return to it again and again for years to come. Despite a negative comment from another reviewer, the quality of the newly released DVD is excellent, and the new white-on-black subtitling finally ends those maddening white-on-whites that cause you to miss lines of dialogue.I myself have seen all versions of Heimat: theatrical release, VHS and DVD and this new DVD is by far the best of the three."