In a small German village in the middle of large moors, there is an old legend of a young woman having sunk in the wetland after being raped by a Swedish intruder of the Thirty Years' war. ...
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Archaeological team unearths a body of a young woman, who was told to be a witch buried in the bog some 300 years ago. Soon a naked woman appears and drives the men of the village crazy. ... See full summary »
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In a small German village in the middle of large moors, there is an old legend of a young woman having sunk in the wetland after being raped by a Swedish intruder of the Thirty Years' war. Now young Dorothee, falling in love with the architect Ludwig, is harassed by an obnoxious, rich farmer Eschmann. The brutal man is ready to do anything to get the maiden. The history is repeating itself, as Eschmann follows Dorothee to the moors after his crime. Written by
'Roses Bloom on the Meadow-Grave' belongs in the subgroup of movies known as 'Heimatfilm', a film genre unique to the German-speaking world. 'Heimat' is the German word for 'country' or 'homeland'. Heimatfilmen take place largely outdoors, emphasising the countryside of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. There is usually a young heroine who somehow embodies the spirit of the land. Nature is celebrated, specifically Germanic nature. But the typical Heimatfilm is celebratory in nature, and celebratory *of* nature. 'Meadow-Grave' is extremely unusual, in that it's a dark, morbid Heimatfilm with a Gothic atmosphere.
Dorothee is a peasant girl, daughter of farmers Wilhelm and Friederike. They can barely stake out a living on their small tract in the Lüneburg Moor. Her parents arrange Dorothee's betrothal to Dietrich Eschmann, a wealthy old lecher. But Dorothee is in love with her childhood companion Ludwig, who has now become a successful architect in the big city. Eventually, Eschmann threatens her. Dorothee lures him out to a lonely spot on the moors. In order to save herself from Eschmann's clutches, Dorothee may have to die on the moors. Has she any hope of happiness?
This film is pervaded by a strong sense of Germanic doom, of destiny being more powerful than human desires. None of this is unusual for German subject matter, but it's very unusual indeed within the Heimatfilm structure. This movie's photography is stark, moody and distinctive. Most of the leading actors give excellent performances, and the ending is impressive. I'll rate this movie 8 out of 10.
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