Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Heimat (episode 4, 5 & 6)

Episode 4 is set in 1938. This episode focused on Maria and her feeling of not having lived. An engineer is boarding with the family, and Maria falls for him. They awkwardly get to know each other. That's about what happens. The peripherial stuff is more interesting. We see that the Nazi party has heavily infiltrated society. About a third of the men at a social dance are wearing the Nazi armband, including the engineer that is wooing Maria. However, Maria continues to resist sending her boys to the Nazi Jugend. We see signs of the rapid investment in infrastructure by the Nazi's and their popularity on account of that. We see large movements of young men in work crews for the roads. Maria's sister-in-law, married to the Jewish jeweller, is quite well off. He shows off the most popular item, a silver ring with a skull. This is popular among the men on the road crews. As in episode 3, life seems to be changing very rapidly.

Episode 5 is set in the winter of 1938 to the summer of 1939. Maria and Otto start a relationship. After no word for 12 years, Paul (Maria's husband) sends a letter saying he will visit. Maria is distraught. Otto leaves. Much misery. Ernst (the youngest son) runs off because he hates his father and joins the Hitler Jugend Air Brigade. Anton is eager to see his dad and writes poems for him. Maria and Anton go to meet Paul at the ship, but they don't let him off because he cannot prove Aryan descent. Hilter announces war with Poland saying that Poland attacked first. People do not seem upset but rather determined to beat the Poles. There are a few references to Jews having a hard time. The village is still changing. With the new highway, it is no longer on the route from Prague to Berlin. Everyone passes them by now.

Episode 6 is set during the height of the war 1942. Ernst is now a fighter pilot. Anton is fighting in Russia. Life on the home front has its privations, but is not too bad. In fact, sometimes the women forget that a war is going on. Anton's pregnant girlfriend comes to live with Maria, and she and Anton marry by proxy. A contingent of French POWs are stationed at the village as workers. Weigund (Anton's cousin) is in the SS but has gotten out of combat for medical reasons. He guards the French. He is brutal and heartless. At one point, he discusses in hush-hush terms the 'final solution' and it's clear he knows what is happening since friends in the SS are doing the dirty work. Otto (Maria's half-Jewish lover and the father of her 3rd son) is working on a bomb squad. He is depressed and views himself as already dead.

It took me 5 months to get through this DVD. It covered the pre-war period which was mainly about the changes in the village as the Nazi government put so much work into infrastructure. But not much happened to my eyes. However, I am looking forward to the 3rd DVD which covers the end of WWII and the post-war period.

Heimat episode 7