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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Heimat - A Chronicle of Germany [DVD] [1984]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£51.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 6 October 2012
This is top quality TV drama from the 80's. After a few minutes, you forget that most of it is in black-and-white and that there are subtitles ( that's how absorbing it is). My main reason for buying it, having vaguely remembered it when first shown, was to see how it dealt with the rise of the Nazis. Early episodes reveal mild intolerances. Later we see some gleefully welcoming Nazism, some capitalising from it but most just going along with it. Only Kath ( my favourite character), Paul's mother, seems to see trouble ahead. The acting throughout is excellent, Maria's ageing using the same actress is brilliantly done, though some of the age leaps using different actors are not so successful. Some complain that there are too many loose ends like the body in the forest and why does Paul suddenly walk out on a beautiful wife and 2 children? I have my own theories but will not bore you with them here. Anyway, real life is full of loose ends. There are so many fascinating aspects to this such as the transformation of the village. The scene where they first receive radio is just amazing. In that respect, we have come a long way in 90 years. In others, sadly, there has been little change; as Kath predicts " no good will come of living off tick". How right she was! Brilliant , thought-provoking TV.
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on 5 August 2017
To anyone considering buying Heimat, do so as soon as possible. I can safely say that this was a worthy investment. Yes, this film is expensive. And, yes, I put off buying it for many years until recently (because I can be a frugal man sometimes).
Now, having watched the full film, I would solidly recommend it to anyone considering. I won't spoil any details. I will say, however, that this film will reward your patience with an experience like no other. I would consider this film as worthy as being Literature, it's that good!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 September 2012
I came to this series late, almost thirty years after it was produced. I found it compelling.

This series follows the Simon family from 1919 to 1982 through the eyes of Glasisch-Karl, an apparently illegitimate son of the family's matriarch, Katarina, but a man who is therefore half in the family and half an outsider looking in. It starts on 9 may 1919 and the return of Paul Simon from the war to his rural community in the village of Schabbach in the Hunsruck area of Germany (between Koblenz and Trier). It ends with the death of Glasisch-Karl in the village square, whereupon he goes to heaven to be re-united with all the main characters seen in the preceding nine hundred minutes of the series. It is very cleverly done.

Most of the eleven episodes is each an hour long, but at least one is over two hours in length. These episodes might seem long, but time flies so quickly, so absorbing is the drama that unfolds. Some episodes cover a decade or more, whilst one or two focus on a single year. My favourite episode was that which sees little Hermann through adolescence into the wider world of nascent adulthood in the 1950s.

As well as a comment on the history of Germany through most of the twentieth century, the film also provides a history of technology: the development of radios, cars, cameras, aircraft, cinema, farm machinery (but alas not trains) are all featured.

There are many moment of humour, but I was also struck how apparently uncaring members of the family could be to wards each other. Sure, they all care for each other in their own way, but there is little physical contact between them and little joy. What does this say about family life in the twentieth century?

Like the great Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky, Heimat's director/writer, Edgar Reitz, often alternates between black and white and colour film; this can be annoying as there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the changes. There are, alas, no extras on this DVD set, so we do not know why he choose to do this, although Wikipedia declares that this apparently conveys different emotional states of the protagonists. Unfortunately, the visual quality of 1980s TV film are also sometimes clear to see.

But these are minor quibbles in what turned out to be a fantastic series. I enjoyed it so much, I have now purchased the second series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 January 2012
I'd watched the Heimat series years ago when it was broadcast on TV and recalled how good it was and so was delighted when these DVD boxed sets became available. I think this first one is the most memorable and the one in which I identified most strongly with the characters. It chronicles life in a German agricultural village through most of the 20th century and the effects of the turbulent events of that period on the inhabitants. The central character is Maria whose life and loves we follow from her teens to her death aged 82 in 1982. The effects of love and war with all the pleasures, pain and hardships are played out through her relationships with her family and neighbours. It has something in common with Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga in that history is reflected in the lives of the characters that one has come to identify with. As I watched the final minutes of this boxed set I felt a pang of loss that I wouldn't be seeing them all again for a while.
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on 17 August 2015
Extremely useful for my language studies and good viewing too. It tries to portray everyday life in a German village after the Great War and through to the seventies.
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on 8 May 2017
If you like slow-moving, evocative, historical drama set in the early twentieth century you will love this. It's somewhat experimental with switches between colour and black and white and a dream sequence that's a little clunky but for me that just improves it!
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on 7 January 2016
I have been wanting this ever since 1984 when they ran the series on TV. It has to be one of the finest chronicles of German life during this time, beautifully acted by all the cast with a particularly fine performance from Marita Breuer
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on 12 July 2015
Saw it on TV in the 80s and have never forgotten it. A marvellous piece of work. Sequels not quite so good - the Muenchen one is the least appealing to me. But this one is a classic. I once went through Wappenroth (the real village)/Schabbach with German friends.
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on 29 September 2016
Anyone interested in pre & post war life in Germany will be fascinated by this. Seen through the eyes of a small village and its inhabitants, it skilfully move through the disturbing events either side of WW 2, examining the momentous events that overtook this nation! Beautiful cinematography and an evokative musical, it is well worth watching.
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on 19 February 2014
This is one of my favorite TV dramas. I live in the US and already owned the Facets release (region 1), which is of very poor quality. I purchased this Second Sight release because other reviewers indicated that the picture quality was superior on the region 2 video and it is indeed true. I played the Facets and Second Sight videos side by side and the difference in picture quality is pronounced. So I sold my Facets video and purchased a region free dvd player so that I can watch the Second Sight video on my American TV. That shows you how much I like this drama. Incidentally, when I view the video on my computer, I am able to switch the subtitles on and off, but for some reason cannot do this with my dvd player, which suggests that the problem lies in the player.
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