Heimatfilme (German pronunciation: [ˈhaɪmatˌfɪlm], German for "homeland-films"; German singular: Heimatfilm) were films of a genre popular in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. Heimat can be translated as "home" (in the geographic sense), "hometown" or "homeland".
Heimatfilme were usually shot in the Alps, the Black Forest, or the Lüneburg Heath, and always involved the outdoors. Their characteristics were their rural settings, sentimental tone and simplistic morality, and they centered on love, friendship, family and non-urban life. They also involved the difference between old and young, tradition and progress, and rural and urban life. The typical plot structure involved both a good and bad guy wanting a girl, conflict ensuing, and the good guy ultimately triumphing to win the girl, making all (except the bad guy) happy.
The genre came to life after the devastation of Germany in World War II, and remained popular from the late 1940s to the 1960s. The films suggested a whole, romantic world untouched by war and the hazards of real life. The Berlin-based studio Berolina Film was the driving force behind the development of Heimatfilme.
In the immediate post-World War II era, the idea of Heimat is linked to the experience of loss of more than twelve million Germans, known as Vertriebene, who were displaced from the former eastern territories of Germany in its traditional, pre-1938 borders. Contemporary concerns with expulsion and re-integration become manifest in many of the more than three hundred Heimatfilme that were produced during the 1950s. This is particularly true for the Vertriebenenfilme as Johannes von Moltke shows with respect to the 1951 version of The Heath Is Green (Grün ist die Heide). The Heimatfilme made during the chancellorships of Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard present idyllic images of the countryside. Nevertheless, the post-war genre does deal with questions of modernisation, social change and consumerism; it "affords the positive resolution of contemporary social and ideological concerns about territory and identity".
In the late 1960s and the 1970s, young West German film directors associated with New German Cinema set out to challenge many of the cultural assumptions inherent in the Heimatfilm. The results are variously labelled "critical Heimatfilme", "new Heimatfilme", and "anti-Heimatfilme". Examples of such films include Volker Schlöndorff's Man on Horseback (1969) and The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach (1970); Peter Fleischmann's Hunting Scenes from Bavaria (1969); Volker Vogeler's Jaider, the Lonely Hunter (1971); Reinhard Hauff's Mathias Kneissl (1970); and Uwe Brandner's I Love You, I Kill You (1971). A more recent example of an anti-Heimatfilm is Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (2009).
The trilogy of films called Heimat by the German director Edgar Reitz (1984, 1992, and 2004) has been described as "post-Heimatfilm" because the director neither sets out to challenge the genre on political or social grounds nor idealizes the past to the extent that earlier Heimatfilme did.
Almenrausch and Edelweiss (German: Almenrausch und Edelweiß) is a 1957 Austrian-West German comedy film directed by Harald Reinl and starring Elma Karlowa, Karin Dor and Harald Juhnke. It is part of the postwar tradition of Heimatfilm.The film's sets were designed by the art director Felix Smetana. Location shooting took place in Bavaria, Upper Austria and Switzerland.As Long as the Roses Bloom
As Long as the Roses Bloom (German: Solange noch die Rosen blüh'n) is a 1956 West German romance film directed by Hans Deppe and starring Hertha Feiler, Gerhard Riedmann and Eva Probst.It is a heimatfilm shot at the CCC Studios in Berlin and on location in Austria. The film's sets were designed by the art director Willi Herrmann and Heinrich Weidemann.Berolina Film
Berolina Film (often shortened to Berolina) was a film production company which operated in West Germany between 1948 and 1964. The film's production was supervised by the experienced Kurt Ulrich and was based in West Berlin. The company helped launch a cycle of popular heimatfilm made in the 1950s.The companies name is a reference to Berolina, the allegorical female figure representing the city of Berlin. It was also the name of a short-lived company from the 1920s, notable for producing the 1924 film The Hands of Orlac.Dancing Vienna
Dancing Vienna (German: Das tanzende Wien) is a 1927 German silent film directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Lya Mara, Ben Lyon and Alfred Abel. The film's art direction was by Andrej Andrejew, Ferdinand Bellan and Erich Kettelhut. It was one of several prototypes of the Heimatfilm made by Zelnik in the 1920s. The film was intended as a loose sequel to Zelnik's The Blue Danube (1926).Der Neue Heimatfilm
Der Neue Heimatfilm is an international 5-day film festival which takes place every year at the end of August in the town of Freistadt, Austria.The festival, celebrating the genre of the “new Heimatfilm” (German pronunciation: [ˈhaɪmatˌfɪlm]), was held for the first time in 1988. Every year around 60 feature films, short films and documentaries from around the world are shown. In recent years the theme of identity, closely related to the term "Heimat" - German for home(land) or motherland - and often explored through the perspective of films about migration, has developed into a key focal point of the festival, but films telling stories of life and structural change in rural areas also feature heavily. The festival’s director and founder is Wolfgang Steininger, who also founded the Linz Crossing Europe Film Festival in 2004.Since 1998 a jury has presented the Freistadt Film Prize of 2222 euros to the best fiction film at the festival. In addition, since 2007 the Freistadt Documentary Film Prize of 1000 Euros has been awarded to the makers of the best documentary. The Freistadt Honorary Prize is also awarded for special services to the genre.Concerts and exhibitions also feature as part of the festival programme. At the 2017 festival 80 films were shown, and a total of 3500 visitors attended.
The 31st festival “Der Neue Heimatfilm” takes place from August 22 to 26, celebrating it's 30th anniversary (1988-2018).Emil Burri
Emil Burri (1902–1966) was a German playwright and screenwriter who worked on around fifty films during his career, a prominent figure in both Nazi era and post-war German cinema. He also directed the 1942 film Beloved World, his only directorial credit. In 1955 he wrote the screenplay for the Austrian historical heimatfilm Dunja.In the theatre he was known as a collaborator with Bertolt Brecht.Hans Ledersteger
Hans Ledersteger (1898–1971) was an Austrian art director who worked for many years in the German film industry. While mainly employed in Germany, he occasionally also worked in other countries such as Italy and his native Austria including on some post-war Heimatfilm. He worked on around eighty films as Art Director or production designer during his career. He was married to the actress Irmgard Alberti. Their daughter was the actress Barbara Valentin.Hunting Party (1959 film)
Hunting Party or Hubertus Hunt (German: Hubertusjagd) is a 1959 West German drama film directed by Hermann Kugelstadt and starring Wolf Albach-Retty, Willy Fritsch and Lucie Englisch. It is part of the tradition of heimatfilm which were at their commercial peak during the decade. Its German title is a reference to the traditional Hubertus Day hunts commemorating the life of St. Hubert of Liege.Ingeborg Cornelius
Ingeborg Cornelius (born 1930) is an Austrian stage and film actress. She appeared in a number of heimatfilm during the 1950s, having been discovered by the producer Peter Ostermayr.Margarete Haagen
Margarete Haagen (1889–1966) was a German stage and film actress. Haagen appeared in over a hundred films during her career, generally in character roles. She specialised in playing good-natured elderly ladies. Following the Second World War, she appeared in several rubble films, such as In Those Days (1947). During the 1950s, she often appeared in heimatfilm and costume films.Marriages Forbidden
Marriages Forbidden (German: Heiraten verboten) is a 1957 West German comedy film directed by Heinz Paul and starring Ingeborg Cornelius, Helga Franck and Siegfried Breuer. It was one of a large number of heimatfilm made during the decade.
The film's sets were designed by the art directors Hans Ledersteger and Ernst Richter.My Brother Joshua
My Brother Joshua (German: Mein Bruder Josua) is a 1956 West German drama film directed by Hans Deppe and starring Willy A. Kleinau, Ingrid Andree and Kenneth Spencer. It is a heimatfilm.
It was made at the Wandsbek Studios in Hamburg. The film's sets were designed by the art director Willi Herrmann and Heinrich Weidemann. It was shot in Eastmancolor.Sacred Waters (1932 film)
Sacred Waters (German: An heiligen Wassern) is a 1932 German drama film directed by Erich Waschneck and starring Karin Hardt, Eduard von Winterstein and Hans Adalbert Schlettow. It is part of the heimatfilm genre. The film was based on a novel by Jakob Christoph Heer, which was later adapted into a 1960 Swiss film Sacred Waters.Sonja Ziemann
Sonja Alice Selma Toni Ziemann (born 8 February 1926 in Eichwalde, Province of Brandenburg) is a German film and television actress.Beginning in 1941, Ziemann performed in operettas and revues. Following World War II, her performances primarily came at the Metropol-Theater in Berlin.Ziemann began working in films when she was 15, and by age 18 "was a star of the first magnitude". She was a notable German film star in the 1950s, particularly in the Heimatfilm genre. She formed a screen couple with actor Rudolf Prack in a number of films, including The Black Forest Girl (1950) and The Heath Is Green (1951). Both films were viewed by over 15 million people in the cinema, making them two of the successful films of the German post-war era.Ziemann's work took on more of an international scope in the 1960s as she co-starred in The Secret Ways (1961), her first American film, and appeared in The Bridge at Remagen (1969).In 1962, Ziemann returned to the stage, portraying Eliza Dolittle in productions of My Fair Lady in Zurich and Munich. She continued to appear on stage in various productions in the 1970s.The Fisherman from Heiligensee
The Fisherman from Heiligensee (German: Der Fischer vom Heiligensee) is a 1955 West German romantic comedy film directed by Hans H. König and starring Edith Mill, Lil Dagover and Albert Lieven. It was part of the post-war boom in heimatfilm in Germany.
The film's sets were designed by the art director Max Seefelder. The film was shot on location in Austria and Bavaria and at the Bavaria Studios in Munich. It was made using Agfacolor.The Last Shot (1951 film)
The Last Shot (German: Der letzte Schuß) is a 1951 West German drama film directed by Franz Seitz and starring Angelika Hauff, Viktor Staal and Heinrich Gretler. It is part of the post-war group of heimatfilm, set in rural Southern Germany.
It was made by a Munich-based independent company at the Bavaria Studios. It was produced by the director's son Franz Seitz. Location shooting took place around the Schliersee in Bavaria. The film's sets were designed by Ernst H. Albrecht and Arne Flekstad.The Old Forester House
The Old Forester House (German: Das alte Försterhaus) is a 1956 West German comedy drama film directed by Harald Philipp and starring Paul Klinger, Anita Gutwell and Trude Hesterberg. It was part of the post-war cycle of heimatfilm.The film's sets were designed by Mathias Matthies.Ulli and Marei
Ulli and Marei (German: Ulli und Marei) is a 1948 Austrian drama film directed by Leopold Hainisch and starring Eduard Köck, Attila Hörbiger and Ludwig Auer. It was made by Wien-Film in German-occupied Austria. It is a heimatfilm shot in the Tyrolean Alps. It was completed in 1945 towards the end of the Second World War, and wasn't given a full release until 1948.
The film's sets were designed by the art director Fritz Jüptner-Jonstorff.When the Alpine Roses Bloom
When the Alpine Roses Bloom (German: Wenn die Alpenrosen blüh'n) is a 1955 West German drama film directed by Richard Haussler and Hans Deppe and starring Hertha Feiler, Claus Holm and Marianne Hold. Along with As Long as the Roses Bloom it was one of two follow-ups directed by Depp to his hit 1953 heimatfilm When the White Lilacs Bloom AgainIt was shot at the CCC Studios in Berlin and on location in the Austrian state of Tyrol. The film's sets were designed by the art director Heinrich Weidemann.
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