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Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars shortened version - and too much monochrome, 14 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heimat 3 - A Chronicle Of Endings And Beginnings [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
This series gives a fascinating insight into Germany at the time of reunification. And it is also a good way of improving one's German. Nevertheless I was left feeling disappointed, and I have two specific criticisms:
Firstly, the running times of some of the episodes are much shorter than advertised. The Wikipedia article states "The cinema version consists of six episodes running to 11 hours 29 minutes, although controversially the version broadcast on the German ARD television network in December 2004 was edited ... ." I suspect that the full cinema version may be more coherent and easier to follow than this shortened version.
Secondly, I found myself becoming increasingly irritated by Reitz's frequent and arbitrary switches between colour and black and white. This may have been understandable in the two earlier series, where one could feel that one was watching archive footage from the periods in which the series were set. However it seems completely unnecessary in a series covering the period from 1989. I agree with a review in the Independent which described the switches from colour to monochrome as `seemingly at random'.
Finally, I would definitely recommend starting with the two earlier series before considering whether to purchase this one.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Mar 2015 13:21:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Mar 2015 15:28:14 GMT
lucas says:
Please correct the information on your review. The "Verified Purchase" label tells me that you have the dvds so all you had to do was to check the length of the stories before writing your review, instead of relying on the information provided by the so unreliable wikipedia as you did. The German TV, at the time of release of Heimat 3 in 2004, cut episodes to 90 minutes but this set of dvds is not the 90 minutes per episode version.

The dvds of this "Artificial Eye" do not have six ninety minutes episodes as you say. Their length is as follows, including about twenty seconds of credits in the beginning(with sound of the story) and about one minute in the end (with sound and image of the story). I am rounding down the time,excluding the seconds so they all last a tiny longer than the time presented here:

dvd episode one 1h 41 min or 101 minutes, not 90.
dvd episode two 1h 35 min or 95 minutes
dvd episode three 1h 59 min or 119 minutes
dvd episode four 2h 06 min or 126 minutes
dvd episode five 1h 40 min or 100 minutes
dvd episode six 1 h 50 min or 110 minutes

Total : 651 minutes or ten hours and 51 minutes. The time goes up to about 654 minutes after adding about 3 min that were excluded in the rounding down .

So this dvd version is 35 minutes shorter than the director's cut version , which had 689 minutes ( "The Guardian" and "The Independent" say 680 minutes but IMDb says 689. I am using IMDb's time just to use the worse case scenario )

Each episode of this "Artificial Eye" set is less than 6 minutes shorter than the director's cut. Edgar Reitz wanted to do an eleven episodes Heimat 3 but the German TV agreed with only six episodes and he was forced to film a much shorter Heimat 3 than the one he wanted to do.

My sources:
The dvd set from Artificial Eye, that I have right in front of me
The Guardian ( argh!) online 04 may 2005
The Independent online 08 may 2005

P.S. The product description on Amazon gives a running time of 750 minutes, which is a close approximation of the total running time because they included the extra features from dvd one in the running time: a 58 minutes documentary and a 32 minutes interview with Edgar Reitz.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Mar 2015 09:07:59 GMT
Alan D says:
Thank you for this information, although I am surprised that you have apparently not sought to correct Wikipedia. I am glad that only 39 minutes are missing, but I stand by my view that some of the story is difficult to follow, with characters disappearing without adequate explanation, and that there is excessive use of monochrome.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Mar 2015 20:36:52 GMT
lucas says:
Thanks for your comment. I don't care about wikipedia, reason why I didn't correct the information there.

I posted a comment just to call the attention to wrong factual information that could mislead Amazon's customers. I never post comments to criticise opinions and made no reference to what you wrote in your review about lack of coherence or monochrome.

I don't think this set is worth ordering and will write a review on that but it would be unfair to let customers thinking that this set is much shorter than the original film. It is not. This set contains 95% of the original film.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Mar 2015 08:30:43 GMT
Alan D says:
Thanks. I am at a disadvantage here because I do not currently have the DVDs, as I have lent them to a friend who is studying German. But I definitely remember that one of the early discs (possibly no 3?) is significantly shorter than the time as stated on the box set. Btw we both seem to be assuming that we have the same box set, but there have been previous occasions when Amazon have sold different-length versions of the same product and grouped reviews of the different versions together. One example is the 1966 World Cup Final, where there is one almost complete version and one which has more than 15 minutes missing. And there are some films such as 'The Wicker Man' and 'The Devils' which are available in both cut and uncut versions.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2015 20:59:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2015 21:03:35 GMT
lucas says:
Thanks for editing your review.

Your review is placed on the dvd set released by Artificial Eye in 2008 and unless you bought you set before that then it's very likely that this is the one you have. Of course, the reviews team has the very deplorable habit of making a big mess with reviews and puts reviews about dvd from a studio together with a blu ray from a completely different studio. The best example I can find of this stupid practice is the film "Sunflower", by Vittorio de Sica. There is a blu ray disc with good quality of image and sound and a dvd, from a different studio, that is unwatchable. Amazon put reviews about both discs together, as if they were the same product.

But this is not the case here because there is only a previous version of this set and, considering the date of your review, it is very likely that you have the 2008 set.

I didn't check the duration of episodes on the dvd cover, I checked it on my mac and the time is exact.
The story is indeed incoherent and moves in jumps. Adding harm to injury, practically all personages from Heimat 2 but Hermann and Clarissa disappeared in thin air.
Not even the two fathers of Clarissa's son, who were musicians, appear and that makes no sense whatsoever.

Edgar Reitz wanted to do a series with eleven episodes but the German TV agreed with six episodes only. He spent five years negotiating the budget of the series. Unfortunately, he just didn't manage to tell a good story in six episodes. The first three were very good, despite the inexplicable absence of so many people from Heimat 2, but the series goes down the hill from episode four onwards and the last two episodes are pretty much soap opera. Then again what is most impressive and interesting about Edgar Reitz's films, in my opinion, is the exquisite visual beauty of his films.
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