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The Television Movie "Heimat": German Longing – and Loathing – for a Lost Mythical Home (1984)

In his twelve-hour long television movie "Heimat", director Edgar Reitz dramatized the course of German history from World War I up to the postwar period (i.e., after 1945). The film centers on the fictional village of Schabbach and explores the ambivalent feelings of longing and loathing for a lost mythical home.

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Book One, Wanderlust

Scene 101 – Meadows above Schabbach*

The meadows spread out calmly on a hill outside of Schabbach and breathe heavily as Paul returns from the war. Wearily, he strides across the green of his homeland towards his village, Schabbach. With the view of the village below, his limbs, exhausted from the long march, regain strength, and a look of happiness and redemption comes across his war-dazed face.

Scene 102 – Village street in Schabbach

Paul arrives in Schabbach. He surveys the buildings of his village as if they were a mirage: the small homes, the farmyards, the village church. The church was the center of the community of two hundred souls. Arriving at the church square, Paul stops and gazes at the village. It seems as if this view could be a consolation for the past years of war. An older resident of the village is busy leading his small goat herd back home. Curious, one kid stops and sniffs at a pig rooting in the mud at the side of the road. It amuses Paul and a liberating smile spreads across his face.

* Schabbach is a fictional village, located in the Hunsrück Mountains in the West German state of Rhineland-Palatinate – eds.

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