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Directed by Edgar Reitz

Germany 2014 231 mins.

After making his acclaimed, three-part, 42-hour-long film saga Heimat, set against the vicissitudes of the mid-20th century, Reitz returns to the first installment’s fictional Rhineland community of Schabbach in the 1840s to investigate the roots of a Germany yet to be born. In the mid 19th century, hundreds of thousands of Europeans emigrated to South America in a desperate bid to escape the famine, poverty, and despotism that ruled at home. Jakob, the younger of two brothers, dreams about leaving his small village for adventures in the wild Brazilian jungle. Everyone who encounters Jakob is drawn into the maelstrom of his dreams: his parents, his belligerent brother Gustav, and, above all, Henriette, the daughter of a gem cutter fallen on hard times. Reitz’s visionary prequel intimately immerses into the world of his character’s everyday struggles as it sketches the bigger picture of economic hardship and a cruel feudal system that fueled desire for freedom and emigration. Beyond the historical, Reitz’s masterful storytelling and insight lends moving perspective to migrant struggles and controversies ongoing, wherever they may be. German Film Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay.

Genres: Drama, Historical