by Allan Fish
(Germany 2013 225m) DVD2
Aka. Die Andere Heimat: Chronik einer Sehnsucht; Home from Home: Chronicle of a Vision
Where the sun goes when it sets here
p Christian Reitz d Edgar Reitz w Edgar Reitz, Gert Heidenreich ph Gernot Roll ed Uwe Klimmeck m Michael Riessler art Anton Gerg, Hucky Horngerger
Jan Dieter Schneider (Jakob Simon), Antonio Bill (Henriette Niem), Maximilian Scheidt (Gustav Simon), Marita Breuer (Margarethe Simon), Rüdiger Kriese (Johann Simon), Philine Lembeck (Florine), Mélanie Fouché (Lena Seitz), Eva Zeidler (grandmother), Reinhar Paulus (uncle), Martin Habersheidt (Fürchtegott Niem), Christoph Luser (Franz Olm), Barbara Phillip (Mrs Niem), Andreas Külzer (Pastor Wiegand), Werner Herzog (Alexander von Humboldt),
After making the greatest trilogy of the German screen Edgar Reitz could be forgiven for considering his life’s work done. There had been Heimat: Fragments, but that had been no more than a retrospective highlights package, adding nothing to the work that had gone before. In 2013 the BBC unveiled the first series of Peter Moffat’s The Village, a series he intended to be a British Heimat. What he probably didn’t know in writing it was that Reitz was penning a new chapter himself, not a continuation, but a prologue, a prequel to the original work.
The location, the village of Schabbach, is the same, except that it’s the early 1840s not 1918. The village itself is barely a village, little more than a hamlet with a kirche, but with many other such villages in the vicinity. It’s the period before the revolutions of 1848, a time when Schabbach was still a part of the Rhineland state in western Germany, with its capital in Mainz. The Holy Roman Empire was no more and it was essentially under Prussian overlordship, but a bigger influence was coming from Emperor Pedro II of Portugal, who was campaigning for Europeans, and especially Germans, to up sticks and emigrate to the plains of South America. Here we find Jakob Simon, a dreamer who has learnt the native language of Cayacachua and dreams of escaping. Sadly, like another dreamer in Bedford Falls, his dreams are put on hold by familial devotion and essentially stolen by his brother Gustav, who first takes his girl Henriette when Jakob is imprisoned for a minor misdemeanour, and then later announces his intention to quit Germany and go to Brazil himself, leaving Jakob home with his otherwise helpless consumptive mother and blacksmith father. (more…)