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Edgar Reitz returns with another installment to his classic Heimat series
Way back in 1984 German director Edgar Reitz directed a TV miniseries called Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany. (Heimat meaning Homeland.) This 15 hour long miniseries became the first part of his Heimat films. In these films he would try and tell Germany's history through characters in the small fictional town of Schabbach. He would later add two more TV miniseries and two films to his massive series. The most recent edition to the Heimat story being Home from Home: Chronicle of a Vision.
For the newest edition to the series Edgar Reitz decided to take the story all the way back to the beginning, specifically the town of Schabbach in the mid 19th Century. Which is the farthest back in time any Heimat film has taken place. The film mainly focuses on the story of Jakob, (played by Jan Dieter Schneider in his first thematic performance, and it's a great debut.) a young member of Schabbach who has dreams of leaving his small poor town and emigrate to Brazil. But unfortunately for him he keeps finding himself unexpectedly detained. And as the years slowly go by he becomes less and less hopeful of ever leaving Schabbach.
I should mention this before continuing the review, you don't need to see all of the other Heimat film before you see this one, it's a prequel and for the most part not connected to the other films at all. So don't let the Heimat series massive length deter you from watching Home from Home Even though Home from Home is much shorter than most of the other installments to the Heimat series, it is still a very long film. Home from Home clocks in at nearly four hours long but it doesn't feel nearly that long. The film is slow paced, but it never feels boring because it's able to enchant the audience with its likable characters and simple and relatable themes. We follow Jakob and his family through all there different toils and troubles that they are faced with, whether it be the difficulties of planting and harvesting seasons, oppression from the rich Barron, or finding new love. By the end of the film we are incredibly close to these characters and feel a deep personal connection with them, nearly every single character has there own private scene, so the audience can't help but feel part of the small town of Schabbach There are also several different scenes or objected that reused or referenced throughout the film, giving the film a nice since of cohesion.
The cinematography, while being amazing for most of the film, does have some weaker parts. Home from Home is mostly a black and white film, but there are a few objects throughout the film that are in color. (Like the girl in the red dress from Schindler's List.) And sometimes this really works, and other times it doesn't. Sometimes it just looks really out of place and really just come across as an eyesore, the coloring is really sloppy and does not fit with the rest of the film. Not to mention that sometimes it's completely unnecessary, so you end up wondering why it was still in the final cut of the film. But the soundtrack is luckily consistently good throughout the film, and fits Home from Home perfectly.
While you're watching Home from Home you don't realize the effect it's having on you. But when it's over, you'll find it's difficult to get Home from Home out of you're head. You'll find yourself mulling over the characters and events constantly, and you'll find that you miss the characters and will want to return to the film just to relive the moments. And as I aid before you don't need to see the other Heimat films before you see this one, so do yourself a favor and check it out
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