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. Jakob’s brother, Gustav, returns from military service and his appearance 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 structure.
‘Home From Home’ opens September 11, 2015 at Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003 anthologyfilmarchives.org.