This black and white Heimat film starts off with almost illegible credits in a Gothic typeface. Hidden amongst these is a list of songs that will be featured in the film, so at least we get a fair warning. The title number predictably segues into a waltz as we see two young lovers dancing. As they have to keep it a secret from her father, they sneak off into the woods to lie around a bit and look at the stars. Only at the crack of dawn do they kiss (ah! those days of wine and roses). It must be noted that this girl has unusually prominent cheekbones, and the lightning director took great care to emphasize both of them.
Director Alfred Braun leaves many things ambiguous. I am still not quite sure if this is supposed to take place in Europe or on a Mexican farm. What is made clear is that poor people love to sing, especially when their rich masters come by for inspection. At one point we move from a sad and mournful song accompanied on accordeon, past a wild gypsy dance to a horse and wagon show and back to the gypsies, with hardly any dialogue in between. Is this meant to reflect the class difference between the workers and landowners? Each time someone breaks into song, the whole movies grinds to a halt for a couple of minutes, even if the singer looks like Lurch from the Addams Family and there is a whole funfair to look at instead.
When the lovers meet up again, Cheekbones has married some other guy (thanks to her anciently evil father) and is now raising a six year old called Klaus. This is especially strange since the little Mexican farm boy (seen singing at the start) has not aged at all. Perhaps this has something to do with children in these kind of stories always getting some terrible disease or at least ending up in hospital (playing near all those big cranes and stuff). Despite all this heartbreak it remains difficult to care for the protagonists. These heavy handed themes make German actors come across even more strict and humourless than usual.
4 out of 10
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