Category Archives: film

Ladybirds

I imagine that most of us don’t associate ladybirds with the middle of winter in these northern climes. However, perhaps someone can explain the following: One evening about a month ago I noticed a ladybird creeping up the wall next to the lamp on my bedside table. I thought it odd, as it was the middle of winter and besides, how did it get into the house when so few windows are opened?

Imagine my surprise when, earlier this week I saw a ladybird creeping around (the same one? I should have counted the spots – damn) in the same place. Is it a sign? If so what? Perhaps it is a sign that God/fate/providence/supreme being of your choice is fond of playing absurd jokes.

On the subject of cosmic jokes, I can’t help but squirm (in a mature and manly way – not a giggly girlish way) with anticipation at the release of the film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Now that Stephen Fry is on board (as the voice of the Guide) it is getting even more interesting. Pencil in the release date of 30th June.

Heimat: Happiness is a TV series from your adolescence

I have been excitedly anticipating a DVD release for a year or two now and last week it finally happened. The Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King? The Director’s Cut of Donnie Darko? No. It’s actually a very long German television series from the 1980’s called Heimat.

Heimat was part of the furniture of my adolescent mind for several weeks and was a drama that followed the lives of a family in a small, rural town in Germany between the first and second World Wars. Pretty dry stuff, you might think. Well, it does take some effort to get into, but you soon become so attached to the characters that when the series ends you feel you have lost old friends. A beautifully crafted work of art, it looked good, with occasional use of black and white, as well as being well acted and scripted. Heimat gave us a thoughtful and moving insight into a rarely exposed culture and historical period. Its German perspective was a refreshing antidote to the usual British and American TV diet.

I actually signed up to a mailing list which attempted, a couple of years ago, to persuade Edgar Reitz, its director, to get it released on DVD. I monitored progress on the campaign and eventually it was announced that a DVD would be produced.

I remember my French teacher at Hampton School, a Sudetenland Jew who still bore a German concentration camp tattoo on his arm, telling me that he felt it to be the best thing he had ever seen on television in any genre; and he was not a man given to hyperbole. Did Heimat perhaps give me a sentimental disposition towards some aspects of German culture that would nurture a blossoming relationship with a certain German au pair I met in London only a few years later?

Anyway, after that sort of wait, you can imagine, then, that if someone doesn’t buy it for me as a Christmas present there will be petulant tantrums! Heavy hints have been dropped within K.’s earshot.

And yes, it does have subtitles.

Available on Amazon.co.uk:
Heimat (Slimline) [2007]
Update: May 2008

Apparently Heimat was highly regarded by Stanley Kubrick.