Posted by Michael
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTGyeGgMpk8 [play this on repeat as you read this post]
Robert Zemeckis’ epic trilogy taught us to importance of recognizing the consequences of our actions and our ability to shape our own future. (If you haven’t seen all three Back to the Future movies, come talk to me so we can plan a movie night) Edgar Reitz’s Heimat includes similar thematic subjects. Linked to the obvious thematic subjects of home and homeland discussed last week, there is also a clear portrayal of the importance of both past and future. The question to each character becomes: which is more important?
The past is probably the easiest to see and most obvious in the first episode seen last week. As Paul works on his radio and mayor Alois builds his automotive collection, many people in the village withdraw from them and shun the new technology. Paul’s parents remain skeptical, and many townspeople mock the motorcycles and throw stones at the automobiles. Why are they so attached to their old ways? Clocks had to have been new to them at some point as well, yet they’ve embraced them well enough, asking for the exact time of day many times.
The future… “oh, I can tell you about the future…” This one seems trickier. We can always blame the older people for being old and stuck in their habits, but how do explain when something new really takes off? The rising nationalism seems to spread through the village like wildfire. Heimat, purposely or not, gives enough examples that one could glean from it what makes an idea “stick”, or what makes it “heavy” (“there’s that word again…”), at least in a rural setting. Towards the end of this weeks episode they had power or telephone lines being installed. Who’s idea was that? Did it originate within or from outside the village? Do you think they all will agree that it will be beneficial to them, or another thing to poke fun and laugh at?
Hope appears as another way that various characters look towards the future. Maria hopes that Paul will come back, and instills this hope in their children. Hope can can sometimes be the only thing someone is left hanging on to, but it could be a hindrance if taken too seriously. Dwelling on the future too much takes focus away from the now and can be dangerous if it becomes too distracting. Is Maria’s hope becoming dangerously distracting? It it ungrounded and foolhardy? Is it right for her to fill her children up with such high hopes of their father’s return? If you knew whether or not Paul was returning would it change your answer?
What other temporal evidence fluxes through this film? Well, the full title itself gives that answer. “Chronicles”, as we’ve mentioned, imply a history, or a story over an extended time period. As Doc explains in Part 2, we can’t think of time as a single, unchanging time, but a series of possibilities, such that the changing of any single event will cause a change to all future events and create an entirely separate “time line”. And just because they didn’t have any DeLoreans around, doesn’t mean the same idea can’t apply. The entire film is filled with little seemingly insignificant events that lead on to bigger things. Though we aren’t sure what, something made Paul depressed and lead to him running off to America. Something (or someone) left a dead woman for him to find that later upsets Maria when others find what seem to be her clothes. Eduard explains to Lucie how his searching for and finding of a piece of (possibly) gold lead to him marrying her. What other smaller events produce a chain like this? The story continues over multiple generations. Do you think events like these will reappear even in the later generations (i.e. if Eduard and Lucie were to have children, would they ever mention the piece of gold)?
I think that should do for now. If I come up with anything else, I’ll add it in a comment. I didn’t have time to really brush up on my BttF, so this is a little drier than I would have liked. And I tend to boil things down pretty low, so if you have any questions about what I’m actually trying to say here, add those too and I’ll try to be as quick with an answer as possible (I think it’s a shame people aren’t really keeping up with their own posts and going back to respond to the comments, but I suppose many don’t have the time to do that and move on to the next one). But now Darth Vader has come down from the planet Vulcan and said that id I don’t stop this post and get it up in a hurry that he’ll melt my brain.