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Uta Larkey

This article analyzes contrasting notions of Heimat and Fremde, as explored cinematographically by three contemporary German filmmakers. The spatial aspect of Heimat, traditionally connected to a particular region or even neighborhood denotes the sense of belonging, whereas the temporal aspect—often associated with childhood and youth—carries the sense of longing. In the second half of the twentieth century, the concept has shifted to include identity, reflection and self-reflection, the loss of Heimat, and even multiple Heimaten. The article argues further that the notions of Heimat and Fremde are not mutually exclusive, but interdependent. Peter Lilienthal's film Ein Fremder concludes that in parts of German society the binary opposites of Heimat and Fremde are still intact. On the other hand, Peter Patzak in Adeus und Goodbye shows how Heimat and Fremde are mutually dependent and include a search for identity and individuality. In Michael Gutmann's travelogue-documentary, Familienreise, the protagonists experience aspects of Fremde and Heimatlosigkeit without ever finding Heimat.