HEIMAT-FRAGMENTE - DIE FRAUEN
Travel diary about
the German Premier, Staatstheater Mainz, Oct 28th 2006 and
the "hunsrück premier", Pro-Winzkino Simmern, Oct 29th 2006
by Gert Jan Jansen, Gouda, South Holland, The Netherlands
Friday the 27th of October 2006
Arrival in Kirchberg by car after a journey of 420 kilometres; in check at hotel Weber am Markt
Bike tour in the sun to Maitzborn- Dillendorf- Ausoniushütte- Dill- Liederbach- Nieder Kostenz- Denzen- Kirchberg. At the end some beer at pilsstube „Kirner Eck”
Special Friday menu at Hotel Weber am Markt: the most expensive menu: Kirchbeerer Ham (Eisbein) with horseradish. € 3,50.
Short trip to Simmern for the acquaintance with Angela Skrimshire, staying at the Bergschlösschen-Hotel and still gasping for breath after her long journey from the Isle of Colonsay, west of Scotland. Nice to meet her. Tells me she doesn’t like tot visit the places where Heimat was filmed. What a pity. She just wants to smell the atmosphere of the Hunsrück in general and to see and talk about the (new) Heimat-film. Will she tell it Thomas, her host for saturday? [note by Thomas: she did!] Appointment for the next day at 12.30 in Woppenroth.
Saturday the 28th of October 2006
After breakfast buying some beer to take home: bottles of Kirner at the Spar supermarket, bottles of Russian beer (HEBKOE and Starij Melnik) at the shop without a name on the Market place, that’s dedicated to the Russian-Germans, we know from Heimat 3.
After driving to Woppenroth another short bike-tour, partly accompanied by a light drizzle: to Schneppenbach, in the wood down to the Schmidtburg and the Herrenberg-schiefergrube and up-hill back to Woppenroth.
Discovery of Ivan Mansley, standing before the Molz Gasthaus. After some time also arriving Thomas Hönemann, Angela Skrimshire, Joel Young and his boss Jonathan. The planned walk to the Galgenhügel is cancelled, but together with Frau Marga Molz, some drinks and her traditional Imbiss the hours fly away. We exchange our expectations of Heimat-Fragments. We’re not sure we’ll be enthusiastic about the film as a whole, the “story” that Lulu has to make of it, how wonderful the individual scenes will be. We all agree that the commercial support of Edgar Reitz and the merchandising could have been in better hands.
Depart for Mainz in several cars. Frau Molz doesn’t go there; we will meet her again next day in Simmern. Her daughter and granddaughter however are going to the Staatstheater too.
Check in at the City Hotel Neubrunnenhof in the centre of the town. It’s just a 10 minutes walk to the Staatstheater. I have time enough to visit the wonderful Mainzer Dom and to consume some Kaffee mit Kuchen in the Dom Café. (to be on the safe side, for I didn’t know we should get any food in the Staatstheater).
Arrival at the entrance of the Staatstheater. Thanks to Thomas Hönemann (and Edgar Reitz) I got an invitation with an free ticket. Outside prompt I meet Banty and Frits van der Mey plus the daughter and granddaughter of Frau Molz, too. In the big hall inside on the first floor already some hundreds of people are undertaking social talk. There’s an immediate offer of some snacks and drinks. Looking around I’m recognising more and more people, but in fact I never met them before. Isn’t that Hermann himself (Henry Arnold), Lulu (Nicola Schössler), aren’t that the filmchildren of Anton, the married couple Rudi und Lenchen Molz, the “burgomaster” of Schabbach, etc. etc. Some of them I met on a Heimattour before, they welcome you as a far family member: Helma Hammen, Karl Burg (Pitt) and Karl-Heinz Kaiser (Anton’s private driver).
Suddenly there is silence. Kurt Beck, prime minister of the land Rheinland-Pfalz starts his partyspeech, welcoming all the guests but especially de director of the film Edgar Reitz. He wants to thank all Reitz for his Heimat creation that gave a new other sense to this German term. After that Edgar Reitz is responding. He is touched by the fact that so many people are gathered to close an era. He presumes all the visitors had the same feeling he had two years ago at the presentation of Heimat 3: This can’t simply be the end of the Heimat. He assures this won’t be the fact, referring to a meeting the day before in Como, Italy, where all the Heimat films were presented since the end of May and discussed by more than 500 people, 300 of which were pupils and students. The forty fragments that are collected in the new film are not a goodbye, but some see again. Each of the scene is a beginning, not an end. Thanks to the Rheinland-Pfalzer cultural foundation the fragments could be saved for ever.
The film Heimat-Fragmente - die Frauen is starting. For two and a half hours we see pictures that are new and old together, for we know the characters and in most cases we can imagine where the scenes are supposed to be played. They are connected by Lulu, driving away from the Günderode-house, where she –standing outside- is face-to-face with her own picture, with tears in her face after the start of a new millennium, the end of Heimat 3. With some equipment, like a brace and a spade, she digs up the past of herself and the Simon-family. About the significance of this framework I was not sure after the first presentation, but most of the scenes were wonderful. The order is as follows: it starts with fragments of Heimat, then Heimat 3 and it ends with no- used scenes of Die Zweite Heimat. In time divided the ratio will be about 1:1:3. The contribution from DZH is so big that – later that evening- I almost had forgotten there were also scenes from Heimat 3. The leading question of Lulu is in that part: were do I come from, how my parents met, where was I procreated, what did my father do in the Musikhochschule, all natural questions about the first years of your life, of which you don’t have your personal memories. The journey through her own life ends with the conclusion that her youth is over , but there is noting to be anxious or sad about that. The mood is much more positive than at the end of Heimat 3.
The second title of the film “The Frauen” has to do with the fact that Reitz gives an extra accent to the feminine characters in the fragments. In subtitles they get a short characterisation (like “Evelyne, the lost daughter”). Relatively extensive is the material in which participate Olga, Helga, Evelyne, Dorli (Veronika Ferres) and also Schnüsschen, the mother of Lulu, who’s face is more on the screen than that of Clarissa. In some way the pictures of DZH are integrated in a “second voice”- storyline, like watching DZH from the wrong side of the screen. I hope there soon will be an index of all the fragments, so that can be pointed out where they exactly belong concerning time and place.
A warm applause is rising in the hot theatre hall. The audience wants to thank the director Edgar Reitz, the principal character Nicola Schössler and cameraman Christian Reitz, who climb up the stage, standing hand in hand. Most of the people get back auditorium to the big lounge for a dinner and drink party to exchange the opinions about the film. Ivan Mansley asks me to express my feelings, but I –as a natural born introvert person- step aside and say that we shouldn’t change our roles during the play: Ivan is the man to make the first statements; I am there to comment and to adjust. Still we are agree that there were relatively much funny scenes in the fragments; it would be nice to hear from Reitz why he couldn’t use them. Another question discussed was: was there any scene that you (looking afterwards) really have missed in the films, that had added value to them? During that talking and drinking I make acquaintance with Raymond Scholz, another tycoon of the Heimat discussion. Very quickly the clock is far over 12 and I decide to look for my hotelbed. The next day there will be another performance in Simmern.
During my walk (Mainz is a wonderful town with an good atmosphere with all that students on the street at night) I have a nice conversation with two other people who had seen me in the Staatstheater: Mr. Linderkamp and his 97 (!) year old mother Else, who came over from München and Heidelberg.
the 29th of October 2006.
Thank god, I have one hour extra, so the wine fume in my head can evaporate. It’s wintertime, continental breakfast in the Hotel Neubrunnenhof and departure for the Hunsrück; quite easy to find the right way.
Visit to German friends in Lingerhahn: Erika and Werner Franke, I met during my first Heimat-tour (accompanied by Eva-Maria Schneider) in 2004. I was there also with my family in 2005. This time we will go together to the presentation of Heimat-Fragments in Simmern. After a light “Suppchen” I’m invited to have a “Kaffee mit Kuchen” in the Schönburg-hotel in Oberwesel, consumed in the library, the room where Hermann and Clarissa talk with Herr Wallauer about buying the Günderode-house. Auf Schönburg is also the favourite hotel of Ivan Mansley: quite expensive and at night nearly to find but provided with a warm old-fashioned atmosphere. At that time I didn’t know Ivan had spend the night before in his car underneath the hotel, because (at 3 in the morning) he couldn’t find the nightbell of the hotel.
Family Franke and I park our cars near the St. Joseph-church in Simmern. At the Pro-Winz-Kino it’s already quite busy. What a lovely cinema with its 100 places. Margit Klein welcomes me warm, although we had only some mailcontacts in the weeks before. The admission is 7 euro’s, Kaffee und Kuchen included. Again I see some well-known people, Thomas Hönemann is there, Angela Skrimshire (after Monday evening she is keeping the worldrecord: she has seen the film four times in 3 days), Joel Young, Ivan Mansley, Frau Molz, Herr und Frau Linderkamp, Jupp Velo and ….. there is Edgar Reitz too.
The maestro gives an introduction to the film. Again the Como-story is told. And there we go again for the next two-and-a-half hours. The sound is better than in Mainz. I also can enjoy the pictures more. Some things I reported of before, I just saw at the second viewing. It seems to last shorter than in Mainz. Again I’m trying to make some annotations about the different scenes, but writing in the dark is a skill that is not very will developed. But I recognize that the visitors –common people, just a few members of the “prominenz”- are all enthusiastic. Edgar Reitz gets in front of the audience and asks –somewhat shy- if we want to have a little break, or that we want to question him right away. Of course the latter. Some remarks are related to the Heimat-cycli as a whole. Thomas wants to know if –in Reitz's opinion- this film is only interesting for people who already are engaged with Heimat. Immediately someone is stating this is his first Heimat film ever, and he has had a lovely afternoon. Erika Franke wants to know if –after Heimat-Fragmente, die Frauen- there will be a part “die Männer”. Reitz is explaining that woman are far more flexible and interesting for him. They have more to tell. Angela Skrimshire is asking him about the characters of Juan and Hermann who are just as complicated as the woman he spoke of. I myself ask if there are some scenes of which he afterwards had said; why didn’t I use it? No, he said, you don’t get such ideas, because so many factors change after you finished your work. A scene can get another meaning afterwards, but still you can’t use it in the “old” film. In the world of the books we sometimes get a revised or improved edition; why not in film? Well, that’s a good idea, but for books it is far less expensive. Is it correct most scenes are coming from DZH? Why did you start with Heimat-fragments, then Heimat 3 and end with DZH? That’s correct. In the beginning the idea was to get back in time with the fragments: H3, DZH and Heimat, but that concept didn’t work, for Lulu at the end should land in a time she herself had no relation to. So we had to change the concept and let it culminate in the time Lulu was concipiated.
After the discussion Edgar Reitz was standing at the exit of the ProWinz-Kino, so everyone who wished to have a personal word with him, got the possibility. Before he had signed the film-posters of Heimat Fragments that went in other hands very quickly. At 8 pm Mr. Klein of the cinema had to “throw out” some still talking people form the lobby, because the new audience for the next performance could hear them. What an impressive afternoon!
Dinner with Erika and Werner Franke and with Joel Young in restaurant Pfalzgraf , opposite the Schlossmuseum of Simmern. Evaluation with mixed criterions, coming from Germany, the Netherlands and the States.
Another bed in another hotel: The Bergschlösschen in Simmern
Monday the 30th of October 2006.
Breakfast together with Angela Skrimshire. Exchange of our feelings about the Fragmente. Very good end of a wonderful weekend. Perhaps I’ll see her again on a visit to Scotland and the Isle of Colonsay. Via Bernkastel-Kues (buying some Riesling-Hochgewächs trocken at the Erben Dillinger) and the Eifel back to the Netherlands, just in time to visit my office. At home the family is all right.
(c) Gert Jan Jansen
No publication, even in abstract, without my prior authorization.
Finally a little gallery of pictures from the weekend, to illustrate the report.
|companions: Edgar Reitz with Ingrid Weirich, Jutta and Jörg Altmeyer, Werner Litzenberger and others||Ministerpräsident Kurt Beck at his welcoming speach||Edgar Reitz at his speach||view from the gallery down to the foyer of the theater|
|at Gasthaus Molz in Woppenroth: Ivan Mansley, Angela Skrimshire, Thomas Hönemann||Thomas Hönemann with Angela Skrimshire, who took the effort to travel from the Isle of Colonsay (Scotland)||4000 meters of HEIMAT-Fragments on the film spool at the Pro-Winzkino Simmern||
Q&A with Edgar Reitz at