Academic journal article German Quarterly

No Place Like Home. Locations of Heimat in German Cinema

Academic journal article German Quarterly

No Place Like Home. Locations of Heimat in German Cinema

Article excerpt

Moltke, Johannes von. No Place Like Home. Locations of Heimat in German Cinema. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. 302 pp. $65.00 hardcover.

This is a convincingly argued, thorough, well researched, and elegantly written book that will become the new standard resource for anybody dealing with Heimatfilm. It is a cultural history of 20th-century Germany through the lens of Heimatfilm in which von Moltke explores both the history-"Roots" (21-69)-and the development-"Routes" (73-200)-of this quintessentially German film genre in both West and East Germany (with a sprinkling of Austria). Von Moltke anchors the history of Heimat film firmly at the very beginning of German film production and the confluence of literary and filmic traditions of notions of Heimat. He then traces its "genrification" (45) through such important stages as the Bergfilm and Nazi adaptations of Ganghofer novels to the Heimatfilm of the fifties and early sixties. The concluding section, "Retrospects" (201-37), addresses the short-lived anti-Heimatfilm of the early 70s and, in greater detail, a reading of the "spatial historiography" (210) of Edgar Reitz's Heimat. Throughout, von Moltke shows how the fascination with the local and unchanging is embedded in a sort of conservative treatment of modernism which is seldom rejected outright but rather reconfigured so as to accommodate both the modern and the archaic. Displacement, history, and modernity (cf. 83) all play central roles m Heimatfilm. For von Moltke, Heimatfilm is a genre that offers "imaginary compromise between radical change and radical conservatism" (151). …

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