Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Heimat II A Chronicle of a Generation|
Actors: Henry Arnold, Salome Kammer, Frank Röth, Noemi Steuer, Franziska Traub
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Pioneering German filmmaker Edgar Reitz follows up his groundbreaking Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany with the astonishing 13-episode, 25-hour saga HEIMAT 2: CHRONICLE OF A GENERATION. Beginning in the year 1960, HEIMAT 2 f... more »
Very Good With Some Shortcomings
G. Ratcheson | Washington | 05/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After watching 25 hours of this in the past week, I have somewhat mixed feelings. I dearly loved Heimat 1, it is the best made for tv film I've ever seen & probably 1 of the top ten films of all time for me. I've been really excited to see this, & it mostly didn't disappoint.
Because of the length, I'm not going to give a detailed plot summary. For those who've seen Heimat 1, suffice it to say that it starts with Hermann leaving Schabbach, & goes to the late 60's; focusing on Hermann & his group of college age friends in Munich. One thing potential viewers should be aware of is that much of the plot revolves around the 60's German New & Electronic Avante Garde Classical music scene & Avante Garde film scene. If you despise Avante Garde & Electronic classical music, this may be hard to sit through as there is quite a bit of it in the foreground of the film. While I would not personally purchase a music cd in this style it worked for me in the film, but it might not work for you.
Through the first 1/2 - 2/3 of the film I remember thinking that Edgar Reitz is a genius & wanting to find out what other of his work was available. His characterizations are wonderful; I felt that I knew these people & could relate to them & their issues. Unfortunately, I felt that the series started to go downhill after the episode with Reinhard's death; it turned into a bit of a soap opera, which Reitz had previously avoided in both this & Heimat 1.
The last 2 episodes are not worthy of the rest of the series. Episode 12 is especially bad; Reitz seems to have an ax to grind against the German leftist anti-war movement of the late 1960's & uses an entire 2 hour episode to paint the German anti-war left as drugged out inconsiderate idiots. All of these particular characters come across in the series as a whole & especially in this episode as very unlikeable people. I've never been to Germany, so it's possible that this is an accurate portrayal of what occurred there; however I can tell you from personal experience that while their were some people in the anti-war movement in the USA who did fit his description; it is not at all an accurate depiction of the anti war movement as a whole in the US. I was young enough to only be on the fringes, but episode 12 is definitely not what I saw here; the series would have actually been superior with this episode left out as there is little plot, just a 2 hour depiction of the left as idiots. I find it a bit ironic that the left is likely to be the main audience for this film!
I also felt the final episode #13 was a bit on the weak side, including the ending (which I won't give away).
Despite the criticisms above, the first 1/2 - 2/3 of the series is a work of genius, with wonderful characterizations & a gripping story - I missed quite a bit of sleep because I didn't want to stop watching!
Briefly on the technical side: Facets seems to be a company with a great mission & horrible execution. On the + side, this is the highest quality dvd I've seen from Facets. On the minus side, the transfer is of really mediocre quality. The video is unnecessarily compressed for a dual layer dvd - each disc averages around 4 hours; my player showed the bit rate as constantly being below 4 mbs. There are some artifacts, some pixelization & lots of grain. I wouldn't be complaining as much if this was a $30 set, but Facets is charging $135 list price for this (Thank God for Netflix; I would be furious about the lack of video quality if I had bought it!). There's one other problem; all too frequently the white English subtitles are superimposed on a white background & are almost completely illegible.
For those with multi-region players who wish to own this, I would suggest purchasing the UK Tartan edition from Amazon.uk; even with international delivery it's less expensive then the Facets & much better quality.
To sum up, while I've focused a bit on the negatives, I highly recommend this series; at least the first 2/3's is quite captivating."
Facets fails again!
Michael Wirths | Canada | 05/21/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I had high hopes that this time Facets would do a better job with the sublimely wonderful Heimat series! I even called them before ordering and asked if this time the quality of the tranfer would improve substantialy, and they assured me it would! The 1st series was almost unwatchable, fuzzy, washed out very low bit rate tranfer. This time its a little better but not a whole lot, there is still room for lots of improvement. Gone is the yellow subtitle and you get white subtitles which when in B&W scenes makes the text hard to read. Plus no option to turn off the text for those that understand German. The last straw though was when I popped in the 2nd dvd only to find an infomercial for a Christian old folks community!!!!!! And nothing else!!! What do they do buy up old low quality used DVD's and record over them?? I'm callling mon morning to demand another copy shipped UPS at their expense. For those yet to buy the series get the Tartan version from Amazon Britain, and make sure your machine can play the different region DVD!! From what I hear their transfers are 1st rate, I just wish my high end Marantz (which does SACD, and DVD audio too) could play region one or I'd have done the same! This is the last purchase from Facets for me which is too bad because on paper they do look worth supporting!!