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I saw this last night at our local cinema. Admirers of Reitz's three earlier 'Heimat' films, and I know there are several here, will not want to miss his return to the world of Schabbach and its neighbouring villages in the Hunsrück. Have no fear, this is every bit as meticulous and lovingly created as those earlier films, and no less keenly critical of the harsh conditions of the lives it depicts. This time Reitz goes back to the almost-revolutionary 1840s. The 'other' Heimat of the title refers to the emigration of many families in the region to a hoped for better life in Brazil in that period, and in particular the plans and dreams of two brothers in the Simon family, some of which are fulfilled and some of which are not. One of the great pleasures of the film, incidentally, is encountering the wonderful Marita Breuer again. She was Maria Simon in the previous films and this time plays an earlier member of the extended Simon family, Margarethe, the mother of the two brothers Jakob and Gustav and their sister Lena. As ever with Reitz's films, the casting is impeccable with every character somehow matched with an actor who can only have been born to play them. There is a stunning and very moving central performance from Antonia Bill as Jettchen but the whole cast is outstanding (there is one famous name who makes a brief appearance as another famous name and I'm far from sure that either the episode or the casting was a good idea but that's only a quibble).
It's a long film lasting just under four hours (plus, in our case, a ten minute interval at a natural break point, gratefully received) but sufficiently compelling throughout that it feels much shorter. It's almost entirely in black and white but, just occasionally, an object of particular emotional or other significance is briefly shown highlighted in colour. Now, I think it can safely be said that Edgar Reitz knows more than I do about how to make good films, but I still wish he hadn't done that. It's a variant, I suppose, on his decision in the earlier films to shoot most scenes in black and white but some in colour. That, to my mind anyway, worked far better than this singling out of particular objects. (Maybe it was something he did in the earlier films too(?) but I don't remember it and, if so, it was certainly less intrusive.) Again, it's only a quibble, but I definitely would have preferred it without.
The title it has been given in English, by the way, is 'Home from Home'. Highly recommended.