Heimat 3: A Chronicle of Endings and Beginnings

Director: Edgar Reitz

The Heimat cycle is now generally recognised as one of the great achievements of post-war German cinema. Their appeal is due largely to the literary character of their narratives and to their focus on people involved in historical events of the last century. ‘The production of stories from history in a form which is our own,’ is how director Edgar Reitz described his intent, and for German audiences the films freed the word ‘Heimat’ from its fatal connotations since the terrible days of National Socialism.
This third series of films in the cycle looks at the final decade of the 20th century. In six tragi-comic episodes, the films tell of the spirit of renewal of the early 1990s, recording how German dreams became less and less German in the face of globalisation.
The story begins on November 9, 1989. On the evening the Wall came down, the conductor Hermann Simon and the singer Clarissa Lichtblau, once lovers, meet in a West Berlin hotel. Infected by the euphoria of their fellow Germans, they set off for the Hunsruck. They are attracted by a romantic timber-framed house high above the Rhine valley and decide that henceforth it will be the centre of their restless lives. Following the collapse of Communism, Hermann’s family and their friends from East Germany discover a world of new opportunities. There are also newly settled Russian Germans looking for a better life in the West. The house acts as the crossroads for the stories. From here the young people start off in life and it is here that everyone returns to greet the new millennium.
Part 1: The Happiest People in the World (Das glucklichste Volk der Welt)
1989. After many years, Hermann and Clarissa, now both successful musicians, meet again in Berlin. Clarissa tells Hermann about her dream house situated on the Rhine— the Grunderrode House, which becomes the setting for new friendships and reunions. (109 min.)
Part 2: The Champions (Die Weltmeister)
1990. The restoration of Grunderrode completed, Hermann and Clarissa await their first guests for a house warming party. On the roof a satellite dish is installed so that everyone can watch the opening match of the World Cup. (100 min.)
Part 3: The Russians are Coming (Die Russen kommen)
1992-93. The Americans have started to withdraw missiles and troops from their bases in the Hunsruck. Ernst Simon unexpectedly returns from Russia, where he had disappeared into Soviet imprisonment for two years. He arrives with a newborn baby in his arms and a whole entourage of Russian Germans. (125 min.)
Part 4: Everyone’s Doing Well (Allen geht’s gut)
Autumn 1995. The relationship between Clarissa and Hermann comes under strain because of Clarissa’s ambitions and Hermann’s jealousy. After a serious injury, Hermann spends much time in hospital, but he also starts to compose music once again. After a visit to his native Schabbach, family matters force him to spend more time there than anticipated. (131 min.)
Part 5: Follow Me (Die Erden)
1997. Ernst, now close to 70, looks after the 14-year-old Matko, who has been left in Schabbach by his Yugoslav mother to protect him from the war in her country. Hermann and Clarissa have found each other again, but Clarissa suffers from cancer. In Schabbach things are changing with the new profit-orientated inhabitants exerting more and more influence on local politics. (105 min.)
Part 6: Goodbye to Schabbach (Abschied von Schabbach)
1999. On August 9, the day of the solar eclipse, Gunnar travels to Munich to start his prison sentence for drunk driving. He plans to arrange a millennium reunion in Clarissa’s and Hermann’s house from prison. In Schabbach, Rudi the innkeeper has died and the whole village comes to his funeral. (108 min.)

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