Saturday, April 08, 2006

Heimat (episode 2 & 3)

Episode 1 was rather artsy -- with most of the filming in black and white but with color emerging for particularly strong memories or moments. One definitely had the feeling in episode 1 that these were memories and somewhat disconnected memories at that, although they were organized in time. In episode 2, the style was a bit more traditional and recognizeable.

We are now clearly seeing the story of the Simon family. Maria is raising her 2 sons and haunted by Paul's sudden and mysterious departure. There are long side stories of key family members. Paul's brother, Edward, who has a lung ailment, goes to Berlin for surgery, and while recovering, gets picked up by a prostitute who he eventually marries. It not entirely clear is he is ever fully aware of her occupation; he's a simple fellow. In Berlin, we see the rise of the Nazi party, but it is background. Edward returns home and joins the Nazi party, but he is not interested in politics. It's the thing to do; it's the way to move up in the world, and he doesn't seem to think beyond that. Grandma goes to visit her brother in a far off village. Her first night, her nephew, a Marxist, is picked up for re-education and driven away in a truck. The nephew was the only adult with a job in the family, so Grandma stays 3 months to help and returns to the Simon home with her grand niece in tow. She doesn't say what happened, just that she couldn't leave the child "in those conditions". Of all the family, Grandma is the one unnerved by the Nazi's and the soldier culture. She tells her grandson not to wear the Hitler Jugend uniform, tells him that he is no soldier, that they'll say he has a bad heart.

But the overall feel of episode 2 is upbeat. Life is getting better. The episode closes with a view of the street in front of the Simon house as workers are putting up electrical poles. Electricity is coming to the village. Life is getting better -- after the hard 1920s.

Episode 3 is a continuation of the same. Life is getting better. Actually episode 3 was a little boring as it focused on Eduard (and his wife), who is the brother-in-law of Maria.

Heimat episodes 4, 5 and 6

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