Have you ever seen a tiny town in the Hunsruck in 1843?
How many unforgettable images can Edgar Reitz create? Country girls given coins, stare dumbly into their palms. A girl with a malformed leg is ostracized. Country people protest "Liberté!" to returned Prussian authorities. A stone cutter becomes mute on his way to oblivion, but first he cuts an agate slice that contains the world. Where do Reitz, and Casting Director An Dorthe Braker (Downfall, Bader-Meinhof Complex), find actors who seem to step out of a time machine? Where does Reitz get the poignancy of turns of fate changing lives utterly in a world where everything is grown, pounded, turned, and wrested from the earth, if not by yourself and your family, by others who you've known all your life? Under the comet of 1843, hawkers sell passage to paradise to people who never once left the Hunsruck. The damson berries are harvested, and youths become intoxicated on music and dancing. A Prussian lackey reads a hateful decree to an empty street. A lone rider brings more emigration papers. Neighbors and families walk beside their wagons, to Rotterdam and beyond on a journey they cannot comprehend except that there is no return. In Schabbach, the remaining Simons endure, and repair and improve the family smithy. A letter arrives from Brazil after 13 months, and is read to the astonished gathering. We are in Schabbach to witness all of this.
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