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  • You could be forgiven for passing over this movie or not having seen it all because you won't see it up for rental in Blockbusters, or for sale in HMV. And even the local cultural film centre would think twice about screening it - all TWENTY-SIX HOURS! But I was one of the lucky ones fortunate enough to catch the 13 two hour episodes shown on BBC2 and will always remember a movie which captures beautifully the lives and loves of the youth of a post-war Germany, indecisive and confused at what went before them and what future lays ahead. To many this may seem political, too boring, but the narrative and direction is inspiring and addictive as you follow the paths of these young adults and watch them grow and learn about a brave new world, fighting their history to form a new identity. 10/10.
  • This film was the most important event in Rome in 1993. The film was shown during 13 weeks in the Movie Theater "Sacher" of Nanni Moretti. A week for each episode. The description of students' life in Germany between 1963 and 1968 was extremely informative and poetic. I cannot mention an episode that I liked best, everything in the 6 episodes I saw was wonderful. The images, the music, the plot, the characters touched the heart. It was very exciting seeing the director and the two main stars in the movie theater one night. Italy did not distribute this film on TV so I want to thank Nanni Moretti to have made the screenings possible. Many people I am sure all over the world would be interested in seeing those movies again...
  • This epic brings together a superbly-gifted cast and crew, a narrative depth superior to most novels, wonderful music, philosophy and a connection to LIFE that I find difficult to explain. To immerse oneself in Die Zweite Heimat is for me akin to a spiritual experience, similar to the awe one gets when looking at the stars in a clear night sky. The language, and use of both colour and monochrome segments adds to the dramatic impact. The film inspired me to go to Munich and visit some of the locations, including the Edgar Reitz office. From then on, I vowed to improve my German skills - after Die Zweite Heimat I feel almost German, as if I am in the head of the characters. I also try to match the piano playing of Henry Arnold (Hermann), but this is the one thing that will always elude me ! This drama is unparalleled and I have been fortunate to see it on BBC2 in the UK and SBS in Australia. The sequel, Heimat 3, is currently being filmed in Germany.
  • Matt-24929 April 1999
    I remember watching this - presumably all however-many-hours (26?!) -it-was - on BBC2 as a teenager who had just started learning German. How I long for it to be repeated again. It was a great (though obviously not a commercial) success here in Britain, thanks to the Beeb. Sadly the German public state broadcaster, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), which funded Die Zweite Heimat, chose to relegate it to a very late night slot when it was premiered, so in its own country it is less well known.

    Meanwhile, though, if you can read German, try and get a copy of the screenplay. A massive hardback, to read the scripts and directions is just as engrossing as watching the films themselves - and there's some lovely colour and black-and-white stills too.

    And if you haven't seen Heimat, the prequel, do so too!
  • Zweite Heimat is a very engrossing film with wonderful characterization. After the first two or three episodes, I became very involved with the characters. Some you love, some you hate. It also gives an insight into German society. The story of a group of students trying to find their place in life is, however, universal. Although I am a second generation American, some of the parents in this film reminded me of my own parents, aunts and uncles whose roots are from Germany. I received the set of videos as a Christmas gift so that I could keep up my German. I have some problems understanding the characters who speak in dialect, but most of them speak "Hoch Deutsch." The subtitles do come in handy, although occasionally the white letters are difficult to see, especially when shown against snow! The photography is beautiful and made me long to visit Germany again.
  • In 1984, Edgar Reitz surprised film-lovers all over the world with his epic opus Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany. Eight years later, he came up with a sequel, The Second Heimat: Chronicle of a Youth, which is even more astounding than its predecessor.

    Actually, it's not really a sequel. It's more of a "midquel", as it covers events that took place between the ninth and eleventh episode of the first Heimat cycle.

    The Second Heimat begins in 1960, four years after Hermann Simon (Henry Arnold) was separated from his first love, Klarchen, courtesy of his intolerant mother and elder brother (the controversy had to do with him being a minor, while she was about 25). Still angered by those events, the young man vows never to fall in love again (a grandiose, if creepy scene), and decides to move to Munich (like the director himself did in approximately the same period), hoping to become a professional composer after a few years spent at the music academy. He stays in Munich for ten years, and the thirteen two-hour episodes of Heimat 2 cover that time-frame, each of them focusing on a different person among Hermann's fellow students, people who, like him, are searching for a "second home country", be it music, film or something else, in which they can finally live peacefully.

    Like the first Heimat, this second cycle is a perfect union of film and television: the episodic structure and the various romantic subplots make it look like a soap opera, in fact The Second Heimat needs to be seen in its entirety to be successfully embraced, whereas some chapters of Heimat 1 could be viewed as separate stories (in particular, the one concerning Hermann's teenage years). The style and content, however, is pure auteur cinema, with the familiar black and white/color transitions (actually, a tad more predictable this time around) and ambiguous characters, the latter element being underlined by the relationship between Hermann and cello player Clarissa Lichtblau (Salome Kammer): they clearly love each other, yet they keep embarking on affairs with other people, delaying the inevitable until it's too late. This time, Reitz seems to be more pessimistic regarding his characters ( at one point, Hermann is so disillusioned he says: "The Beatles are much better than us!"), building entire episodes around dark, controversial themes such as abortion and suicide. The decade he's exploring is not suitable for everyone, as some are scarred in dramatic ways by the pivotal events of the '60s (the '68 revolution especially).

    Reitz also seems to have made this mini-series specifically for movie-buffs, given the numerous film references (including a brilliant Casablanca quote) and clever in-jokes (one episode is set in Venice, whose film festival had an important part in the Heimat saga's success). And since 1992, film-lovers have never ceased to thank him for delivering 26 of the most compelling hours ever committed to celluloid.
  • As much as I admire the artistic quality of these 13 films, I still like the original series of 11 "Heimat" films from the 80s even more and I think there's a reason why "Die zweite Heimat" was shown only once on German TV while there have been several reruns of "Heimat". Actually there are 2 reasons:

    1) The TV scene in Germany has changed dramatically between 1983 and 1993: the two (+ one local) public channels back then are in competition with more than 15 private channels now. This was not a good thing for the attention span of the audience and the quality of the programming.

    2) Apart from this general reason there's a problem with "Die zweite Heimat" itself IMO. Almost all the protagonists are ambitious artists (in various fields like music or film) with a high political awareness. In this sense they form an active avantgarde of Germany's society in the 60s, which is quite in contrast to the mostly passive protagonists of "Heimat", who just react to the turbulent times they live in. Although this gives Edgar Reitz the chance to paint an even more precise and detailed picture (because he was part of this avantgarde and knew people like Clarissa, Juan or Reinhard), it's harder for the viewer to identify with these people. An example: the girl from Detmold (can't remember her name) is on her way to become a left-wing extremist (RAF-terrorist?) long before 'ordinary' people join the APO in 1968. Being so much ahead of your time makes it very hard for your contemporaries (let alone the viewer of the films), to understand your feelings and motivations.

    Nevertheless these films belong to the best German films of the 90s and I would love to see them again. If you also like this 'chronicle'-genre let me recommend two other German series made for TV which are nearly just as good IMO and deserve to be better known: "Rote Erde" is about some families who go through the changes in the Ruhr-area mining industry between about 1890 and 1919 (first 9 episodes) resp. 1923 and the 50s (second 4 episodes). "Löwengrube" is about a policeman's family in Munich over three generations in the 20th century (32 episodes).
  • I first saw Heimat 2 on BBC2 in the 90's when I was at art college living and moving among artists and musicians, hoping for future success. So 'The Second Home' - of friendships made after leaving the familial home, of striving for a professional excellence - strongly resonated with my living reality. I was captivated by the characters, the storytelling, the lyrical camera-work and above all by the music. In it I could divine the beginnings of German Electronic music, of 50's Stockhausen, Kraftwerk, Can, Neue, Faust of the 70's, the sound experiments of John Cage, Walter Carlos and the British electronic psychedelia of The White Noise. The soundtrack composer Nikos Mamangakis studied with Carl Orff of Carmina Burana-fame so I found its tastes contemporary to the Electronic Pop/ Sound Effects world.

    I hadnt seen Heimat or Heimat 3 so I watched it as a whole in itself without a before or after. As someone else has commented, it is both epic and lyrical - historical and artistic. Many favourite moments including the wonderful voice of Gisela Muller (Evelyn), the Bach marimba of Daniel Smith (Juan), the piano-playing of Henry Arnold (Hermann) and the cello-playing of Salome Kammer (Clarissa).

    I could write more but it's already been said here. Why can't British or US TV PRODUCE SUCH MASTERPIECES ? The Wire had the realism and politics and epic sweep of a city, David Lynch and Dennis Potter had imaginative tropes to their serialised TV work too but this is art-house and soap at its most cinematic and narrative sublime. It's never included in critics' choices of Best Films but it should be. Still as poetic and powerful as when I first saw it over 17 years ago. I watch the 3 boxed sets every autumn for their 'mellow fruitfulness'. Inspired and inspiring.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've just finished seeing the film for the first time in it's entirety (although I watched some parts when it was first shown in Britain in the mid-90's), I truly believe it to be a masterpiece of late twentieth century cinema. Undoubtledly a film of this scope raises lots of questions, like why are there some narrative differences between the 60's Hermann in 'Heimat' and Hermann in this film? For example, in the first film Hermann has a fairly significant relationship with his stepfather (he funds Hermann's electronic music), whereas in "Die Zweite..." there is little mention of his dad until the final episode.

    One other point does interest me; reading up on Edgar Reitz I'm struck by historical similarities between him and the Stefan character, (spoiler coming) in the last episode it is revealed that Stefan has won a prize at the Venice Film Festival, (Reitz won an award for best debut work there for his film "Mahlzeiten"); Reitz's film company is called 'Edgar Reitz Filmproduktion' and Stefan's is also eponymously named. I'm interested in Stefan being an autobiographical character because aside from Helga he is probably the least likable of the friends.

    Maybe Stefan's a red herring, I don't know, what I do know is that I loved this film and wish that more were made like it, with the exception of Michael Haneke's "Cache" and Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man" there's not enough ambition, audacity and passion of this sort in modern cinema. I can't wait to see number 3 now.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For a bout of sickness at the end of a long winter what better antidote that watching all thirteen episodes of "The Second Heimat" in close succession! Of Edgar Reitz's three mini-series I have long found this the most fascinating and compulsive. Although no episode quite matches the "Little Hermann" sequence of the first "Heimat" in depth of feeling, it is somehow more exhaustive and honest in its exploration of its characters' relationship with their society, with none of the earlier work's sometime awkward omissions when it come to depicting the horrors of Nazism, or flights of fancy into the realm of the supernatural which seriously marred its conclusion. I am sorry in a way that Reitz made the third series. Although watchable much of it is melodramatic, the elements of soap opera predominant. In spite of its many longueurs (mainly sequences involving music performance that hold up the narrative flow without necessarily enriching it) the second series is a deeper experience in every sense. It follows ten years in the life of Hermann Simon, a country lad from the Hunsruck, from the time he first leaves home and comes to Munich to study music at the conservatoire. Although he is never far from the main thrust of the narrative, taking central stage in the first episode and sharing it with his main love, Clarissa, in the last, each of the intervening episodes features one of his many friends in his newfound Heimat. Not only does this give the whole work a satisfying unity, but we feel we get to know each character wonderfully well as if we are part of their many "gatherings" at "Foxhole", home of Elizabeth Cerphal, a wealthy spinster who "collects" artists from all media. "The Second Heimat" is full of superbly orchestrated "gatherings", none more impressively mounted than the wedding of Hermann and Schnusschen that forms the core of the central seventh episode. Here is a sequence to rival in intensity of detail the great family Christmas parties of Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander" and Huston's "The Dead". When I first experienced Reitz's masterwork I wondered if something of its life and energy somehow drained away after the climactic wedding. Now I am not so sure. The wedding ends in drunken mayhem resulting in the students' expulsion from Frauline Cerphal's mansion. Nothing will ever be quite the same again. The final episodes are an extended dying fall that exemplify in an often moving way the passing of time that can never be recaptured. Even "Foxhole" is razed to the ground by bulldozers to make way for an soulless apartment block. For a second time death strikes one of the group. Some relationships break up. One of the girls with revolutionary tendencies ends up on the Baader-Meinhof wanted list. A gifted young musician who has never quite found his feet becomes a circus performer. A filmmaker narrowly escapes blindness. Another cannot make the film he wants. During the time I was watching, a "For Sale" board appeared outside the house of our neighbours of thirty-one years. My sadness at the passing of time that is about to bring about a change close to home seemed almost bound up with my experience of a work of film. That and my identification with Hermann when he falls sick and cold in a winter away from home. Flights of fancy, perhaps, but evidence surely of the unique grip "The Second Heimat" has on me.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Die Zweite Heimat - Chronik Einer Jugend" or "Heimat II: A Chronicle of a Generation" is a German 13-part mini series from 1992, so this one just had its 25th anniversary and like the others it was made by Edgar Reitz of course, who followed up on his original Heimat mini series with this one here focusing on the life of Hermann played by Henry Arnold. So while the first was mostly about a female character, this one here is about a male. It's a really long series as a whole, longer than the first, as most of the episodes run for 2 hours approximately, so you need to watch for over 24 hours straight if you wanna see the entire thing in one sitting. But maybe you shouldn't really as honestly I felt that the longer it went, the more it began to drag. The first episodes were still somewhat entertaining and interesting, but it doesn't stay that way. Then again, I wasn't too big on Heimat I, so no surprise I did not like this one here too much either. If you sat through the first and liked it, then this one here will be for your liking too maybe. This is the background you should consider when weighing in if you want to see this one. As for myself, I cannot say it impress me too much all in all and it did not really make me curious about Heimat III that I have not seen yet by now. My favorite is still Heimat IV, the relatively recent theatrical release here in Germany that I genuinely enjoyed and that had some moments of greatness even. Back to this one here: One thing I found as irritating as in the first already was the frequent shifting between color and black-and-white that hardly made any sense for me. As for the characters, some were okay, some were forgettable. I think the acting all in all wasn't really the problem here. And the very last of the 13 episodes felt really bizarre too I must say, maybe the weakest of them all and way too much style over substance, which kinda confirms my theory that it did not only get worse after the first few episodes, but that there is another drop in quality towards the end too, a pretty massive one actually. So from my review you can certainly see that I wasn't a big fan here, but like I said earlier you should take your appreciation (or lack thereof) for the first series into account when considering seeing this one here which is not exactly a sequel though, at least not in the strictest sense. I give it a thumbs-down overall.