Niemanns Zeit (1984)

Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - West Germany  |  
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In an interesting part-fiction, part-documentary look at Germany's years of Nazi domination, this experimental film by directors Horst Kurnitzky and Marion Schmid features a main protagonist, Niemann (Gerd Wameling), and subsidiary characters (a philosopher, a social scientist, and a mountain climber). Niemann is a kind of mountain-climber himself, as he plows through mounds of paper detritus from the Nazi era in the form of bits and pieces of documentation kept in a large, warehouse-like space. His obsession with the past keeps him going in spite of the mass of paper he faces. Normally, a "heimat" film deals with melodrama and overblown tragedy, set in the rural countryside. The reference here refers to a segment on Hitler's Obersalzberg retreat in the mountains, and other rural-Nazi associations brought in from time to time. Complementing Niemann's story is another about the futility of trying to come to grips with human nature, seen from the (somewhat warped) perspective of three supposed experts.