Berlinale: Programme

Film File


Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit

Heimat Is A Space in Time

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What remains? Lives leave behind traces; so does the passage of time. Thomas Heise’s Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit examines how the one relates to the other. Using documents from his personal archive – letters, photographs, school essays, diary entries – read by Heise himself in voiceover and shown on screen, he traces out the story of four generations of his family in Vienna, Dresden and (East) Berlin. We see black and white images of the places and landscapes mentioned in the correspondence as they look today, which bear the marks of time: the labour camp in Zerbst, the former National People’s Army barracks, a university auditorium, terraced houses in Mainz. There are also cracks in the earth, mounds, open strata and railway stations, trains and tracks again and again. First loves, fathers, mothers, sons and brothers, the deportation of the Viennese Jews, war dead in Dresden, art and literature, East German socialism and staying respectable – using fragments from the repository of personal experience, meticulously chosen and pieced together with gaps, Heise tells nothing less than the story of Germany in the 20th century. A great film, and one that will remain.

Thomas Heise

Germany / Austria 2019


Documentary form
218’ · Black/White

World premiere


Written and directed by
Thomas Heise
Director of Photography
Stefan Neuberger
Chris Wright
Sound Design
Markus Krohn
Johannes Schmelzer-Ziringer
Heino Deckert, Filmproduktion, Johannes Rosenberger, Navigator Film, Constantin Wulff, Navigator Film, Johannes Holzhausen, Navigator Film


Thomas Heise

Born in Berlin, East Germany in 1955. Since 1983, he has worked as a freelance writer and director in the fields of theatre, audio drama and documentary. Since 2018, he is the director of the Film and Media Arts section at the Academy of Arts Berlin-Brandenburg, Germany.


1980 Wozu denn über diese Leute einen Film (Why a Film About these People); 30 min. 1982 Erfinder (Inventor); 15 min. 1984 Das Haus (The House); 60 min. 1985 Volkspolizei (People's Police); 60 min. 1989 Imbiss Spezial; 27 min. 1991 Eisenzeit (Iron Age); 87 min. 1992 Stau – Jetzt geht’s los (Jammed – Let’s Get Moving); 83 min., Forum 1993 1997 Barluschke; 90 min., Forum 1998 2000 Neustadt (Stau – Der Stand der Dinge) (Neustadt (Jammed – The State of Things)); 87 min., Forum 2000 · Meine Kneipe (My Local); 60 min. 2002 Vaterland (Fatherland); 98 min. 2004 Der Ausländer (The Foreigner); 37 min. 2005 Mein Bruder. We’ll Meet Again; 57 min., Forum 2005 2006 Im Glück (Neger) (Lucky (Niggers)); 87 min. 2007 Kinder. Wie die Zeit vergeht (Children. As Time Flies); 86 min. 2009 Material 2011 Sonnensystem (Solar System) 2012 Die Lage (Condition); 74 min., Forum 2012 · Gegenwart (Consequence); 65 min. 2014 Städtebewohner; 82 min. 2019 Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit (Heimat Is a Space in Time)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Produced by Filmproduktion

Navigator Film

World sales

Deckert Distribution