Heimat Trilogy

Heimat (film)

Directed by Edgar Reitz
Produced by
Edgar Reitz
Written by Edgar Reitz
Release date(s) September 16, 1984
Running time 924 min
Language German

Heimat are three series of 30 episodic films by Edgar Reitz which view life in Germany between 1919 and 2000 through the eyes of a family from the Hunsrück area of the Rhineland. Personal and domestic life is set against glimpses of wider social and political events. The combined length of the 30 films is 53 hours and 25 minutes, making it one of the longest series of feature length films in cinema history.

The title Heimat is a German word meaning "homeland". Its use is partly an ironic reference to the film genre known as Heimatfilm which was popular in Germany in the 1950s. Heimatfilms were noted for their rural settings, sentimental tone and simplistic morality.

Aesthetically, all three series are notable for their artful switching between colour and black-and-white film to convey different emotional states.


Heimat, the original series, premiered in 1984 and follows the life of Maria Simon (Marita Breuer), a woman living in the fictional village of Schabbach (the village of Woppenroth in Rhein-Hunsrück was used for filming). The film spans the years 1919 to 1982. Subtitled Eine Deutsche Chronik — A German Chronicle, it consists of 11 episodes running in total to 15 hours 24 minutes of screen time and depicts how the events of German history affected the Simon family and the community in which they lived.

Episode List

The Second Heimat

Die Zweite Heimat (literally The Second Heimat, and called, in the English version, Leaving Home) (subtitled Chronik einer Jugend — Chronicle of a Youth) followed in 1992. It tells the story of how Maria's youngest son Hermann leaves his rural home and makes a new life for himself as a composer in Munich during the socially turbulent years of the 1960s. At 25 hours and 32 minutes divided into 13 episodes, The Second Heimat is considered the longest film to be commercially shown in its entirety.

Episode List

1. The Time Of The First Songs (Hermann, 1960)
2. Two Strange Eyes (Juan, 1960–61)
3. Jealousy And Pride (Evelyne, 1961)
4. Ansgar's Death (Ansgar, 1961–62)
5. The Game With Freedom (Helga, 1962)
6. Kennedy's Children (Alex, 1963)
7. Christmas Wolves (Clarissa, 1963)
8. The Wedding (Schnüsschen, 1964)
9. The Eternal Daughter (Fräulein Cerphal, 1965)
10. The End Of The Future (Reinhard, 1966)
11. Time Of Silence (Rob, 1967–68)
12. A Time Of Many Words (Stefan, 1968–69)
13. Art Or Life (Hermann And Clarissa, 1970)


Hermann is a musical prodigy whose teenage romance with 26-year old soul mate Klärchen was considered scandalous by his conservative home village. It resulted in her being expelled and coerced not to contact him ever again. Hermann was crushed and vowed never to love again and to leave his wicked village forever. He arrives in Munich at age 19, overwhelmed and with no place to stay. He finds a private room opening in a month, leaving the deposit with a flamboyant Hungarian woman. His friend Renate, a law student, allows Hermann to sleep on her floor but he is put off by her sexual advances. He finally rooms with Clemens, a fellow Hunsrücker who plays jazz drums in Munich's clubs. Hermann is accepted into the music conservatory, where he meets the incredibly talented Juan from Chile, whose school application is rejected on the grounds his marimbas are "folklore". Hermann and Juan network with the avant-garde culture surrounding the conservatory, including film students, while Hermann takes on odd jobs and Juan works as a gymnast teacher. Both Juan and Hermann have a brief fling with the beautiful cellist Clarissa, who fears intimacy but is drawn to those who fear it too. The students are gradually drawn to the Foxhole, a mansion headed by a wealthy art patroness said to be a "collector of artists".

Heimat 3

Heimat 3 (subtitled Chronik einer Zeitenwende — Chronicle of a Changing Time) premiered in 2004. It picks up Hermann's story in 1989 as he returns to Schabbach and depicts the events of the period from the fall of the Berlin Wall until 2000. The cinema version consists of six episodes running to 11 hours 29 minutes, although controversially the version broadcast on the German ARD television network in December 2004 was edited to six ninety-minute episodes [1].

Episode List

1. The Happiest People in the World (1989)
2. The World Champions (1990)
3. The Russians are Coming (1992–93)
4. Everyone's Doing Well (1995)
5. The Heirs (1997)
6. Farewell to Schabbach (1999)

Possibility of Heimat 4

When asked in 2005 if he would make a Heimat 4 Reitz replied "For 25 years, Heimat has dominated my life. At the moment, I'm calling it a trilogy, because it's a symbolic way of finishing it. But it is always possible to continue it because, by its very nature, Heimat is something that can never end."


Heimat has been criticized for its selective interpretation of German history. There is little treatment of the hyperinflationary spiral of the 1920s, the Great Depression, or the Holocaust of World War II. Schabbach is also depicted as unusually idyllic, with no shops or markets, no financial crisis, and no personal conflict during the first half of the movie. Its themes of decadent American values and Western corporate greed rising up against the innocent simplicity of the Hunsrück have been seen as "resurrecting a discourse that prevailed in the nineteenth century about the modernization of Germany's society and economy ... no compromises or delicate balances are possible".

Character histories

The Simon family

The Wiegand family

The Schirmer family

Unrelated characters



External links

Retrieved from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimat_(film)