Occasionally, a book is published or a film released that leads one to realize that the old verities no longer hold. Heimat is such a work. A fifteen-and-one-half-hour film written and directed by Edgar Reitz for German television, Heimat (which may be translated as home or roots) is at one level the nostalgic journey of a middle-aged German back to the provincial Hunsriick region in which he was raised. Reitz left this pastoral area, not far from Trier, in 1951 at the age of nineteen. If this were all, one could praise Reitz for the superb artistry of his 2,000 page manuscript and the haunting quality of his eleven-part epic tracing
three generations in the remote fictitious village of Schabbach. Heimat drew an audience in the mil...
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