HOME FROM HOME
2013, Edgar Reitz, Historical Fiction
Set in a dreary, unforgiving mid-19th century German village in Hunsrück, Home From Home captures the plight of hundreds of thousands of Europeans who emigrated to faraway South America to escape the famine, poverty and despotism that ruled at home. Their motto was: “Any fate is better than death”. Edgar Reitz’s film is a heart-wrenching drama and love story set against the backdrop of this forgotten tragedy. It encompasses a time of tribulation and illuminates the revolutionary and intellectual spirit present in the souls who are center of this tale.
Jakob, our protagonist, tries to immerse himself in literature and learning, as the rest of his family toils to fend off starvation. He dreams about leaving his village, Schabbach, for a new life in Brazil and the freedom of the wild South American jungle. He studies the languages of the native South Americans and records his heroic attempts to escape the rural confines of Hunsrück in an astonishing diary that not only tells us his story but reflects the aspirations and philosophies of a whole era. Everyone who encounters Jakob is drawn into the maelstrom of his dreams: his parents, bowed and broken from years of labor making a living from the soil; his scheming and brash brother, Gustav; and above all Henriette, the fetching daughter of a gem cutter fallen on hard times.
Gustav’s return from military service is destined to shatter Jakob’s world and his love for Henriette, as it symbolizes the necessary rift that will set into motion the unraveling of the regimented family Jakob is not content to allow himself to be stuffed into a mold typical of a young laborer and rebels against his tormentors by assaulting the local marshals in an attempt to stand in solidarity with a fellow revolutionary; both are cast into prison and brought near death. For a time Jakob finds a new home after his release, then another, before events beyond his control finally reunite him with his family in Schabbach. It is here that Jakob’s colorful and magnetic influence is most strongly realized, and he realizes his place in the world is not that of his dreams.
“A magnificent, career-capping achievement from one of the great storytellers of our era.” Read more
“It is nearly four hours, but never dull for a moment; indeed, there is a boxset addictiveness to the whole thing.” Read more
“This beautifully shot black-and-white feature is accessible even for those unfamiliar with Reitz’s previous work.” Read more
“Reitz has “capture[d] a sense of place and that particularly German ideal of “heimat”, which makes it so difficult to separate the people of Schabbach from their feeling of belonging””. Read more
“”Home From Home” isn’t the kind of definitive post-mortem on a decade that “The Second Heimat” was, but it will speak to anyone who’s ever felt trapped by their surroundings and dreamed of escape.” Read more
“On paper it is a yawn, especially when you clock the four-hour running time, but you will be sucked in to the lives of the characters and the mesmerising detail of their existence.” Read more
“The first masterpiece of 2015. Spellbinding, lyrical and breathtaking. Epic in scope while intimate in its humanism. I could have watched 4 more hours.” Read more
“Reitz and co-writer Gert Heidenreich define home as the bosom of family, as an emotional shelter or storm, rather than simply the roof over Jakob’s head.” Read more
“Home from Home: Chronicle of a Vision is a daunting four hours long, but so immersive and exquisitely photographed that time shoots by in the manner of the best box set.” Read more
“Reitz (who was in his eighties during the production) directs with peerless finesse, as he mines authenticity from an inexperienced cast and brings a bygone era to vivid and engrossing life.” Read more
“Deeply embedded in a sense of local community and the familiar rhythms of the changing seasons, the grape harvest and annual festivals, Home From Home evokes the work of Thomas Hardy and the look of photographer Ansel Adams.” Read more
“Home From Home excels in the spaces between the action. While its runtime traverses love, death, betrayal, imprisonment and charity, it remains an epic in the quietest way. The conflicts and resolutions resonate without overwhelming as Reitz latest yarn slowly fascinates and engulfs.” Read more
1967 Table of Love
1968 Film Lesson
1971 Stories from the Bucket Kid
1972 The Golden Fleece
1973 The Trip to Vienna
1977 Zero Hour
1979 The Tailor from Ulm
1995 The Director’s Night
1985 – 2004 The Heimat Trilogy
2013 Home from Home
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