Home Again: Revisiting the New German Cinema in Edgar Reitz's Die Zweite
Cinema-Journal (CinJ). 2003 Spring; 42(3): 114-43
Elusive Images of Women, Home, and History: Deconstructing the Use of
Film and Photography in Edgar Reitz's Heimat
Culture (WGY). 2000; 15: 227-46
Viewers and Villagers: Realism and Authenticity in Edgar Reitz's Heimat;
Selected Papers from the Conference of University Teachers of German,
University of Keele, September 1999
77-89 IN Hall,-Christopher (ed.); Rock,-David (ed.); Fiddler,-Allyson
(preface). German Studies towards the Millennium. Oxford, England : Peter
Lang, 2000. 286 pp.
On the Difficulty of Saying 'We': The Historians' Debate and Edgar
PB: 118-32 IN Ginsberg,-Terri (ed. and introd.); Thompson,-Kirten-Moana
(ed. and introd.). Perspectives on German Cinema. New York, NY; London,
England : G. K. Hall; Prentice Hall, 1996. xii, 810 pp.
Authenticity and Nostalgia: Edgar Reitz's Heimat as Tourism and Folk
(Journal)- New-German-Studies (NGS). 1994-1995; 18(3): 171-83
Gendering German studies : new perspectives on German literature and
culture. - Oxford : Blackwell, 1997. -
Reflections of the 'Heimat Genre': Intertextual Reference in Reitz's
(Journal) German-Life-and-Letters (GL&L). 1997 Oct; 50(4): 529-43
Remembering and Retrieving the Past: Edgar Reitz's Heimat (1984)
(Journal) Forum-for-Modern-Language-Studies (FMLS). 1995 Jan; 31(1): 84-
Representation and Mediation in Edgar Reitz's Heimat
Journal) The- German-Quarterly (GQ). 1991 Winter; 64(1): 35-45
Edgar Reitz's View of History: The New Religion of Regionalism and the
Concept of 'Heimat'
(Journal) Germanic-Notes (GN). 1988; 19(1-2): 8-14
German Revisionism: Edgar Reitz's Heimat
(WAn). 1987; 9(3): 21-37
Dossier on Heimat
Studies (NGC). 1985 Fall; 36: 3-24
Avant-Garde Music and the Aesthetics of Film: On Edgar Reitz's Die Zweite
199-208 IN Goetsch,-Paul (ed.); Scheunemann,-Dietrich (ed.). Text und Ton
im Film. Tubingen, Germany : Narr, 1997. 305 pp
'The Second Heimat'
Kultur-Chronik. 1993; 11(5): 43-45
53 TI: Location Heimat
Kultur-Chronik. 1993; 11(5): 42-43
Stranded Objects: Mourning, Memory, and Film in Postwar Germany
Ithaca : Cornell UP, 1990. xiv, 200 pp.
Title :Edgar Reitz's Heimat Author:Rachel Palfreyman Publisher: Peter Lang AG (published in English) ISBN 3906765873 This is an academic book ,so it's not bedtime reading, and it explores Heimat and DZH in the broader context of the German Heimat literature and filmmaking. The book is difficult to obtain from a normal bookseller. As soon as they see the ISBN commences with a "3", they assume it's in German and will tell you it's not available. It IS available and it's in English. It can be obtained from the publisher Peter Lang AG at http://www.peterlang.com or in the UK from Blackwells Books at http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk
Title: Edgar Reitz Subtitle: Film als Heimat Author: Reinhold Rauh Publisher: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag München Pages: 304 p. Year: 1993 ISBN: 3-453-06911-0
The book is a complete biography of Reitz' life covering _all_ his films with a lot of photos from the sets, actors, friends of Reitz etc. For sale at http://www.kulturbuch-hh.de/biographien.html
Essay "Das Leber der Toten" by Timothy Garton Ash in "Aus den Zentren Mitteleuropas 1980-1990" about the films Shoah and Heimat.
An anonymous article in German, probably by a student, about the history of left-wing terrorism in Germany from 1966 to the late 70's, focusses on Gudrun Ensslin and draws parallels to the DZH character of Helga Aufschrey of course. Finally it discusses whether Reitz succeeded in telling this part of German history. http://www.hanflobby.de/archiv/die-zweite-heimat-in-den-60ern.html'Edgar Reitz' related books according to www.buch.de.
Title: Drehort Heimat - Arbeitsnotizen und Zukunftsentwürfe Author: Reitz, Edgar Publisher: Verlag der Autoren GmbH & Co. KG Pages: 296 p. Year: 1993 ISBN: 3-88661-143-4 Price: DM 32.00, OES 234.00, SFR 29.50 For more information about this book, see the excerpt below. The Danish translation by Hans Christian Fink is: Title: Den anden hjemstavn - Bogen om filmserien Publisher: Forlaget Politisk Revy (Rævens sorte bibliotek) Year: 1993 ISBN: 87-7378-118-5 ---- Title: Kino Author: Reitz, Edgar; Spree, Lothar; Klotz, Heinrich Publisher: cantz verlag Pages: 64 p. - 21 x 13 cm Year: 1994 ISBN: 3-89322-650-8 Price: DM 16.80, OES 123.00, SFR 16.80 ---- Title: Der zweite Atem des Kino Author: Lyotard, Jean F; Reitz, Edgar; Elsaesser, Thomas Co-Author: Rost, Andreas Publisher: Verlag der Autoren GmbH & Co. KG Pages: 160 p., many pic. - 20,5 x 12,5 cm Year: 1996 ISBN: 3-88661-168-X Price: DM 28.00, OES 204.00, SFR 26.00 ---- Title: Erzählkino und Autorenfilm Subtitle: Zur Theorie und Praxis filmischen Erzählens bei Alexander Kluge und Edgar Reitz Author: Barg, Werner Publisher: Fink, Wilhelm, GmbH u. Co. , Verlags-KG Pages: 502 p., 19 pic. Year: 1996 ISBN: 3-7705-3001-2 Price: DM 98.00, OES 715.00, SFR 87.30 ----
unavailable:Title: Bilder in Bewegung Subtitle: Gespräche zum Kino. Essays Author: Reitz, Edgar Publisher: Rowohlt-Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH Pages: 334 p. Year: 1995 ISBN: 3-499-19997-1 Price: DM 16.90, OES 123.00, SFR 16.00 ---- Title: Heimat. Eine deutsche Chronik Author: Edgar Reitz, Peter Steinbach Publisher: Greno Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H., Nörlingen Copyright Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main 1984 Pages: 606 p. Year: 1985 ISBN: 3-9215-6820-X Descript.: Drehbuch original film, that was supposed to consist of 10 parts which became 11. The role of Glasisch as narrator was not known. The familytree is printed on the first page. ---- Title: Die Zweite Heimat: Chronik einer Jugend in 13 Büchern Author: Edgar Reitz Publisher: Goldman Verlag München Pages: ca. 1000 p. ISBN: 3-442-30466-0 ---- Title: Heimat. Eine Chronik in Bildern (aka: Heimat. Eine Bildchronik) Author: Edgar Reitz Publisher: C.J. Bucher GmbH München und Luzern Copyright Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main 1984 Year: 1985 Pages: 170 p. ISBN: 3-7658-0487-8 Descript.: Photos with the original title 'Made in Germany', instead of 'Heimat'
That last book "Heimat. Eine Chronik in Bildern" was for sale at this bookshop in the Netherlands for 50 euros or 65 dollar in November 2004. But it is also available as a scan in a digital format on the web because it is out of print.
Andrew Blom: "Just to give you an idea of the sort of thing that Reitz writes about in Drehort Heimat, I took this little section from the third chapter, "Die Zweite Heimat. Ein Entwurf":
The fortunes of a member of the clique - as soon as we have told its story - interest us just as much as the fortunes of a lost son. The clique too is a productive pigsty.
In the sixties we often said: "If you are not of my party, you cannot be my friend." But stupid friendship would not let itself be shaken off.
More areas of society function on the basis of friendships than we imagine: businesses, politics, Mafia, but also research, street traffic, television programs. What frienship brings to the balance is no better than that which families achieve - it is only in greater scope.
Friendship is no protected institution. More likely it stands in suspicion
of "criminal assembly." It appears that it stands in opposition to the
family. Even the "family friend" is likelier a danger to the family. It is
possible to ground families within a clique. Our hero Hermann marries
Schnuesschen, Volker marries Irene, Helga and Baer raise a child together. But who actually belongs to the clique per se, that a common past decides. Clique histories are binding like family histories.
To tell them, however, is new.
The birth of the New German Film dates to the Oberhausen Manifest of1962. You were among the signatories, and in 'Die Zweite Heimat' the filmmaker-trio of Reinhard, Rob and Stefan spread the famous slogan 'Papa's Cinema is dead' ('Papas Kino ist tot').
It began with a loose circle of friends, a fraternity (Stammtisch) of short film makers. We met every Thursday in a Chinese restaurant - in 'Hong Kong' in the Tengstraße, in a side room upstairs. Haro Senft was there, as well as Peter Schamoni, with whom I had done theater together. For Schamoni's documentary 'Brutalität in Stein,' Alexander Kluge had written the text; he joined later. The old school fell apart, the UFA (Universum Film Aktien Gesellschaft, AA) went broke. That was the final impetus, now we trusted ourselves to speak out. In this circle the Oberhausen Manifest was formulated.
The Oberhausen group was actually a group of Müncheners.
That's why they were called 'die Obermünchhausener.'
The Baron of Lies (von Münchhausen) is hidden in the wordplay too. How much bluff was involved when the Obenhauseners raised the challenge, as I take it, of creating the New German Film?
We didn't want to make short films any longer; rather, everyone pursued feature-film ideas. After the Oberhausen Manifest we stopped going to Oberhausen. We had a promise to fulfill.
We were all badly educated - totally uneducated, in fact. Our working method was modeled after that of documentary teams, and there were areas - masks, costumes, decoration, for example - about which we hadn't the vaguest idea. The problematics of continuity were unknown to us. You can see it in our first feature films; 'Mahlzeiten,' for example, has the effect of a pseudo-documentary. We filmed with the hand camera - always keeping the Nouvelle Vague before our eyes. With the casting there was this strange mixture between the private and the figure; the performers all played themselves. The division of labor too can only be called amateurish. With 'Mahlzeiten' our team consisted of six people: director, cameraman, his assistant, sound man, a script girl, who at the same time was the director's assistant, and production manager. He was moreover responsible for the organization as a whole and for financial transactions. In this framework all the films of the New German Film came into being.
It was all quite adventurous. Out of unprofessionality we made a virtue
reconcilable with the principles of the avant-garde. The continuity
solution, for example: what difference did it make if we couldn't manage the continuity problem? Leaps in the narrative flow would lead to the desired break with fiction. There are filmmakers who have continued this mixture of avant-garde and amateur art their whole lives.
Herbert Achternbusch for example.
He was born later, arrived there later, but a completely typical phenomenon of the New German Film.
One day it became a completely decided matter: I had to get out of this
corner. Earlier, we had regarded 'professional' as a bad word, rather like 'entertainment' (Unterhaltung). Professional was the old school. Today I understand thereby the application of all means at the level of
international film production. Why should we be worse than commercial films?
1968, situation critical
I had written a screenplay after E.T.A. Hoffmann's story 'das Fräulein von Scuderi,' but my interest was not aimed at literature filming per se. 'Cardillac' was at the same time a Portrait of my father, who was a clockmaker and a goldsmith. In other words a very individual story, and my first mistake was that I tried to fit this most deeply personal matter to the current state of discussion in the student movement. Not only was the book made into a film, but the reflections on it as well: the performers discussed their role, and that too was taken up into the film.
It was a very typical story of 1968, and I was not without guilt therein. We filmed in Berlin, where the debates were fiercest. The anti authoritarian movement put power structures into question, and wanted to do away with them in the cultural superstructure too. Democratization was the word. The division of labor in art was equivalent to a likeness of feudal society. We wanted to see if it was possible to work collectively in film. I myself stepped down; I no longer wanted to play the role of director. At night we held discussions and together laid down the program for the next day's filming. When I saw that the film was turning out badly, I tried to save the production and retake command. My second mistake.
It came to a proper rebellion. I had a screenplay grant of DM 200,000 from the Federal Ministry of the Interior; now the word was that that was the People's money, and in the name of the People, the team expropriated the director. In this chaos - the filming had to be interrupted - Ulrike Meinhof suddenly showed up with her twins; she had just left her husband in Hamburg and was looking for a camera to make her film 'Bambule' for Südwestfunk. The camera had to be made available to her. But I got the reins back in hand. After the interruption of filming it came to light that a team member had secretly made off with all the sound recordings. Not until after months of negotiation did I get them handed over to me: all the discussion parts, several thousand meters of material, had been deleted. I then completed the film alone in München.
The film work for Stefan's feature film in part 12 of 'Die Zweite Heimat' gets derailed in a similar way: the team rebels against the director. And in the background of one scene you can see the original film poster for 'Cardillac.'
I took on this story because I never again experienced the '68 mentality at such a critical pitch. I was moreover able to bring in the point with the American production, also a perfectly typical story of the time: in the end Hollywood pays for the revolt against Stefan. Nevertheless it seems to me that that episode of 'Die Zweite Heimat' didn't turn out quite right.
My attitude toward the figure of Stefan is remarkably ambivalent. I never know if I pity him or if I'm quite happy to assail him with misfortunes. Maybe it's because of his bourgeois origin. Stefan is exactly the type that studies law. In general I find jurists to be persons without mystery, because they always orient themselves after power. Jurists are pragmatists, and that is one thing an artist cannot be.
Hermann is a bit too old to take active part in the student movement: he is already a young family man. But he is confronted with the anti authoritarian ideas - not least through Schnüßchen, a 'late student.'
I got into a bit of trouble with the storytelling here. The circle of
friends is cracking up: they are all striving forward in their professions, in their careers; the love stories have wound up in dead ends, or are transformed into marriages. In this situation, where the clique breaks apart, there is elsewhere formed a new group feeling: the ApO. I couldn't make this a central theme, to do so I would have needed other figures: people from the generation that actually formed the student movement. Hermann completed his A-levels (Abitur) in 1960; he couldn't still be a student in 1968. But he has so many unfulfilled dreams in him yet that he stands nearer the Rebels than the Establishment.
Renate says in the film: 'We are exactly eight years too old
for the Revolution.' You are again eight years older than your
little Hermann. How did you personally experience 1968?
The demonstrations took place right on our doorstep: we lived in München right by the Springer-Haus in the Schellingstraße. People fled from the police into our little apartment, and from there leapt back out into the fight. We participated in all possible political activities and actions, went for example to the Berlin Film Festival with intention, according to the usual methods of the time, to turn it upside-down.
The first productions of the New German Film date to 1966. It began with Kluge's 'Abschied von gestern', on which I also worked. In 1967 I made 'Mahlzeiten,' my first feature-length film. And then came 1968. The public degraded more and more into a target group, the process of artistic creativity was nipped in the bud. In every discussion that had to do with film, literature or art, only one question was asked: on whose behalf, and in whose service (in wessen Auftrag und Diensten)? The drive from one's own ego, from the inmost, most individual realm, was simply out of the question. It was impossible to justify such bourgeois individualism, and I too had to recognize that. The permanent pressure to legitimize stifled my imagination: nearly everything that I did was insufficiently groundable, and I always appeared to myself like a scolded schoolboy. It was impossible to break free. Nobody could meet this demand of the Left of '68, and the fiercest battles played themselves out as party struggles. As soon as you did anything spontaneous, you were a maverick of the Left or Right.
How does your balance sheet look: were they lost years? Herr Edel promises Hermann at the beginning: 'The first of you to be free of ideology will have success.'
Success is not everything. I feel an irritating sadness with respect to this time. 1968 stands for a time of setting out; meanwhile we have had to take our farewells from one-time utopias. The mood that dominates at the end of 'Die Zweite Heimat' leads into our present day. We have become free of ideology; as Edel says, we have become successful. But we are rather at a loss, and without horizons. Not even recollection is taken radically in hand; we deal with it sooner in the spirit of dipping in to visit Mother. It's a relatively comfortable society we live in. There are no projects for the future, we live in a society without hope and vision.
'We must remember that we once set out to kill the Dragon.'
A Rose for Joris Ivens
[Reitz] I had always revered him, especially in the sixties, when his political filmwork was a model for us. The mix of engagement and poetry fascinated me. In 1984, 'Heimat' was shown in Rimini, and when I stepped into the elevator in this hotel, there stood a little man with long, white hair. He had an asthma attack, perhaps triggered by the narrowness of the cabin, in the operator's chair. I was alone with him in the elevator and didn't know what I should do; I tried to take him under the arms and support him. Just then the elevator arrived at the ground floor. The door opened, and outside stood a pack of photographers that had been waiting for him. That's how I met Joris Ivens.
In the evening we had a long conversation together. I also told him about my film. He then went to the next day's screening, and stayed three days. He took in 16 hours of 'Heimat' for which I was very grateful to him, since a man at his advanced age must be sparing of his time. I visited him later in his Paris apartment, and a friendship sprang up. We began a correspondence, and I helped him with the financing and the preparations for his last film. I was busy with the shooting for 'Die Zweite Heimat',
and he was filming 'A Story of the Wind' in China. There too we still wrote each other postcards. Then, at the end of June, 1989, came the news of his death. I had intended to visit him, and now he was dead. Two months later the team was in Paris, and we visited him in the cemetery. Spontaneously, I suggested that my lead actress should lay a rose on his grave. We filmed it, and as the camera swung up from the hand with the rose to Clarissa's face, a gust of wind came and moved her hair. That moved us so much that we took up the scene in the film.
[Reitz] In Buñuel's 'Belle de Jour' there is this story with a casket: A Chinese man shows up in a bordello; none of the women want to take him in, only Sévérin. Suddenly they hear an awful scream. They see her and the Chinese man, him holding a casket with the lid popped open in his hand. The audience never learns what's inside. This scene is a stroke of genius. Precisely beacuse the camera can only reflect the visible world, the audience occupies itself almost compulsively with the invisible. No sexual perversion staged before the camera can be as exciting as that which remains hidden beneath the lid of the casket. I cited this scene in 'Die 'Zweite Heimat.' During the wedding party, the cameraman Rob ensconces himself with the Finnish girl Anniki in the wardrobe. While Jean Marie is performing a song, a sudden scream breaks out. They open the door: Rob has showed her the casket.
[interviewer] There are more such citations in 'Die Zweite Heimat.' Whoever doesn't recognize them can still follow the logic of the story, and whoever recognizes them gets an extra treat.
[Reitz] Another example is Antonioni. In 'La Notte', doubtless one of the most important films from the early sixties, there is a scene in a nightclub: while Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni sit at the bar, a dark-haried dancing girl performs a risky balancing act with a glass of wine on her forehead. We staged this dance too. Or 'L'eclisse,' a film which we practically adored at that time. Monica Vitti embodies this sexually waking, self-freeing and at the same time unbelieveably inhibited woman. Here comes Alain Delon, the perfect type of the daredevil from French film, and nothing happens. All Antonioni's films tell about men and women not coming together. The relationship between Hermann and Clarissa is for long periods an Antonioni story. I come from this Catholic world; there is a Romance element in my films. Love is a drama: one knows this in Italy, and understands it in France, there one always practiced a certain libertinage but could never give up the fascination of the forbidden. Luis Buñuel, who was most deeply Catholic, never did anything in his films other than describe sin as pleasure. Erotique with refinement, prohibition as the spice of sin; this one cannot find in the Protestant German tradition.
[interviewer] There is another kind of film-citation: the film-figures go to the movies. In 'Heimat' Pauline and Maria are crazy about Zarah Leander and go to see Carl Froelich's sentimental melodrama 'Heimat' in the theater. In 'Die Zweite Heimat' there are many cinema-scenes as well. On the day of John F. Kennedy's murder the monumental film 'Cleopatra' is running, and the show is interrupted.
I checked it: it's true, on November 23, 1963, this historical extravaganza had its München premiere in the Royal-Palast on the Goetheplatz. The 'Süddeutsche Zeitung' reported: 'During the intermission, the terrifying news from Dallas, Texas, ran through the foyer and transformed the gala mood into a deeply paralyzing depression. For most it went without saying that this film, dedicated exclusively to pomp, gaudiness and hyperdimensional sets, would be broken off. In fact, a speaker appeared before the curtain, gave the official report, and declared that the presentation of the second half ... would have to be delayed for some minutes. Many viewers left the cinema; few still wanted to see how Liz Taylor plays with gilded gondolas in a marble basin.
[Reitz] I remembered, and then did some research to verify it: the news of Kennedy's death came over the radio at about twenty after eight. A half hour later at the latest, the cinema owner and the distributor knew it too.
It was a narrative necessity to confront the two historical events with each other. No one knows how Cleopatra entered Rome, only Hollywood has a version of it. And no one knows how Kennedy was shot, we only know the images from television.
For the rest, I have viewed all the films that are mentioned in the dialogue together with the actors. I didn't want a character in the film to say: 'We have seen 'La Notte', without knowing Antonioni's film