The first ideas for Die
Heimat came to him during a retreat on the island of Sylt.
He watched Holocaust on TV and was appalled how it
destroyed the truth down to crocodile-tears. Reitz: "A
filmic truth could only have been created by a telling based
on the experience actually stored in the soul, on the real
images, and on the real irritation caused by the fact that
person a person who creates for himself a set of criteria
does not necessarily know what he likes and what he hates.
We do not necessarily and automatically hate the horrible
and love the good. I saw how that kind of film created the
untenable equation: love the good and hate the bad, avoiding
inner conflict, inner truth."
Besides this he also tried to
understand why at the age of 19 he had left his home village
in the Hunsrück. "(...) There is no way of translating the
German word Heimat into English with precision. There is
one, direct, simple meaning which is "homeland" or
"mother-land" (...) But there is another meaning in a
dramatic sense because of the nostalgic connotations:
people wanting to go back to a place where they were happy
as children. The drama lies in the fact that one can never
Reitz also mentions a book called "Love for
Cinema" he wrote parallel to making Die Heimat. It
contains a series of pieces from earlier days dealing with
ideas about film, along with sections of a diary he kept
during the production of Heimat.
"This film lasts a little more than 90 minutes and consists of an extended interview with Edgar Reitz in which he discusses his career and films. In addition there are many film clips from a number of films including a few of his early experimental films and shorts (YUCATAN, COMMUNICATION, and SPEED).
It's also a very useful introduction to his pre-Heimat features, which, as we know, are pretty hard to locate anywhere. (Only last month I finally located a copy of DER SCHNEIDER VON ULM, in a Spanish language subtitled video.) In the documentary Reitz talks in some detail about the "revolt" that took place while he was making CARDILLAC in 1968, which clearly was the inspiration for the similar scene in the 12th part of DZH. Each of these feature films is shown in brief clips.
Along with Carole Angier's BBC film for Arena, also made in 1993, this is a
very valuable background documentary. Alas, I doubt you will find this at
any local videostore. I found this in the library of the Goethe Institute
in Boston. The video itself was manufactured and distributed by Inter
Nationes in Bonn (Bildungsmedien & Film, Kennedyallee 91 - 103 D-53175 Bonn)
and it appears it was produced in each of the PAL, SECAM and NTSC formats
with an English voice over narration. The stock number is IN2687."
"I was able to get a hold of the documentary through a company in Ontario, Canada, called LM MEDIA
MARKETING SERVICES LTD. They loan videos free of charge through the
Consulate General of Germany. If you order more than one they even pay for
return postage. For those not residing in Canada you could try contacting
them or your local German Consulate to see if they have a similar programme
in place. Or perhaps the Goethe Institute in your city. It's a great
documentary for anyone wanting to see Reitz giving a summary of his
career up to DZH. Many rare clips from earlier films. The contact info for
LM MEDIA is as follows: . 115 Torbay Road, Unit #9, Markham, Ontario, L3R
2M9, tel: 1-800-268-2380, fax: 1-800-689-1067, email@example.com."