24 December 2004 | Roelof Ruules
What can one say? This is what (television) drama should be. I saw the first Heimat when it was broadcast in the Netherlands in 1985, shortly after it was released in Germany. I was stunned. It seems that every decade one or two television productions excel, and this was without a shred of a doubt the eighties' highlight. When the second Heimat was shown on Dutch television in two marathon sessions (it runs for over 25 hours in all) I sort of locked myself in, and never regretted it.
I cannot begin to describe what Heimat is about. It's an epos. It's European history of the twentieth century on a small scale, literally. It's 'roman fleuve' and yet it's not. It's your family, that sometimes you wished wasn't there (and for good reasons) and then you're glad to meet again. It's all the human frailty and without the excuses. It *is* the human condition. And it only helps that it is beautifully shot, that the actors put on a superb show, that the music at times is haunting.
Now, on the verge of having the third series shown on TV, the first Heimat is finally available on DVD (with the other two series promised for the next few months). And although I saw most of it about twenty years ago, it is like coming home again and meeting your boyhood friends, those favourite aunts, that dear old uncle - what was wrong with him, again?
If you are looking for action, a thrilling plot, romance in a grand manner, wonderful CGI, and be done before dinner, don't look at Heimat. But if your willing to submerge yourself, to be engulfed by a very good story, to get really, I mean really, well acquainted with characters - well, I'm not in for commercial breaks, but go out and get it!