by Chris Bertram on February 19, 2004

I’ve recently started going to German classes in an attempt to move beyond my dismal O-level German of thirty years ago. One thing I this has spurred me to want to do is to watch Edgar Reitz’s “Heimat”:http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0087400/ again. Heimat is the 11-episode-long dramatic chronicle of a German village from 1919 to the 1980s and tracks the ordinary lives of Germans against the background of political and military cataclysm. When it was broadcast by the BBC on successive evenings in the 1980s we stayed in and watched the whole thing (we had a small baby at the time, so staying in was just the way it was). Reitz’s immensely humane film makes explicable, but does not excuse, how German society could succumb to the lure of Nazism and it has to rate as one of the best things I’ve ever seen in TV. Its successor, “Die zweite Heimat”:http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0105906/ , dealing with the lives of young Germans in Munich from the postwar period to the present was much less compelling – but still good. Now I see that a further series, “Heimat 3”:http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0312142/ , is in production. Disappointingly, as far as I can tell, Heimat is not available on DVD or video but if anyone knows differently — let me know.

(Here’s “a page with some clips”:http://www.dickinson.edu/departments/germn/glossen/heft9/heimat.html in MOV format.)



des 02.19.04 at 12:18 pm

I’ve only lately started on German from scratch, but I am certainly fluent in Amazon, and I think Amazon.de wants to be your friend too:

Heimat 1919-1982 (5 VHS)
@ 63,99 EUR,
Versandfertig in 4 bis 6 Wochen.


Reimer Behrends 02.19.04 at 12:21 pm

A DVD edition is supposed to come out by the end of the year.


bobby joe 02.19.04 at 12:36 pm

My boyfriend never stops gushing about that pretentious fucking film.


mannyk 02.19.04 at 1:39 pm

Both Heimat and Heimat II were released on VHS, with English subtitles, in the U.S. by Facets Multimedia. Amazon U.S. has a page for both series, but the videos don’t appear to be in print at the present time. I’d have suggested trying to go through the distibutor’s site, http://www.facets.org, but it appears to be down at the moment.

These videos are exceptionally rare. I’ve been searcing for them for some time, and I’ve only ever managed to find a few scattered episodes from either series.


LowLife 02.19.04 at 2:50 pm

Never saw it. I do have sympathy (but no answers) for wanting to find a treasured film or documentary that sits archived someplace where one can’t find it. I would love to to see, again, the Jean Sheppards films of the late ’70s/early ’80 called, IIRC, The Phantom of the Open Hearth and The Fourth of July Parade and Other Disasters. Some of the same material that is in his much beloved Christmas Story (such as the leg lamp) I first saw in these predicessors.

I saw the above listed films, of course, on PBS. Another film, made I don’t know where, with an international cast was the Mahabharata. I saw about two hours of it. It was fasinating. Amazon has a three tape version of a Peter Brook’s 1989 production for $50. I don’t know if that’s the one I saw but I do know I don’t have the $50. Wish Blockbuster had it.

Amazon also has the Levine Wagner Ring cycle on DVD I saw, on PBS, over ten years ago. That would be worth seeing again – on somebody else’s $110. Wish Family Video had a copy of it.

Hope you find Heimat. For me, I have to take the view that art is transitory. Its there in brief blessing, then fades away like a sunset. That is, unless I win the lotto.


Mark 02.19.04 at 3:21 pm

You could check Ebay. My wife uses it for her work (part of her job requires finding videos of old TV shows to be used in presentations) and she has been able to find most things that she wants. You can also ask that they email you whenever a particular item that you want is put up for sale.


Chris Bertram 02.19.04 at 4:09 pm

Thanks everyone! I think Reimer Behrends (above) has the best solution for me — and the site he links to has lots of useful information.


Ruth 02.19.04 at 8:28 pm

For anyone in the US (or with a US VHS), Facets can still be reached via phone, at 1-800-331-6197. Heimat is available for sale for about $150, and Die Zweite Heimat for $250. The person I just spoke to didn’t say anything to indicate they were unavailable.

I never saw the first, but I spent a month biking twice a week to the School of the Art Instiitute in Chicago to see episodes of Die Zweite, which they screened about 7 or 8 years ago. I thought it was mesmerizing. I might be inspired to cough up the funds to buy the first in order to watch it…but VHS?


Nils 02.27.04 at 2:48 am

I found tapes 1-8 through an inter-library loan. Your local library may be helpful. Its a good alternative to spending ALOT of money for the whole series.

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