A German Masterpiece

(…) The writer-director Edgar Reitz, a signatory exactly 23 years ago of that call to arms of the New German Cinema, the Oberhausen Manifesto, orchestrates this story with measured surety over 15 hours and 40 minutes.

His first skill, during the five years it took to establish HEIMAT, was to establish, with precise detail, the reality of the fictional Schabbach, an ordinary village, whose history, as would seem at the outset, need not detain us, and then to reel us inexorably into the lives of its inhabitants.His regard is straight and clear; and he may be compared in this respect to those great humanist film-makers Ermanno Olmi and Satyajit Ray.

(…) He regards all his characters – and his cast, led by Marita Breuer, is a vibrant, exemplary troupe, part amateur, each one of whom impresses, incidentally, by his physical presence – with mature disinterest, but also with gaiety and humour (…) What is unquestionable; (…) is that overall Reitz reveals the skills of a classic novelist. He has a just sense of proportion and a matching breadth of humane vision.

John Pym in: FINANCIAL TIMES, Cinema, 15. Februar 1985