Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Home and Film

This morning I had an hour or so to kill before I had to go to class, so I wandered over to Victoria Park, looked at the national memorial to commemorate the German War of Liberation, walked along the trails, and all in all enjoyed myself.

At one point, a man came up to me, presumably wanting to ask for directions or something, and asked "Entschuldigung, Kommen Sie aus Berlin?" That means, "Excuse me, are you from Berlin?" That made me giggle inside. A part of me had been afraid that because I was from America, everyone around could see that I did not belong. No one has given me any reason to think that, but the feeling was still there. Now, I feel slightly more confident walking around in the city.

In class we read worked on more grammar and read a few articles that had to do with the idea of home. What makes a home? What do you associate it? How does traveling outside our home affect our perception of it? We will talk more about the topic tomorrow. What I found particularly interesting was the words Heimweh and Fernweh. Heimweh is literally home pain and refers to homesickness. The second word corresponds to wanderlust (an originally German word). What I find so nice about the term Fernweh is how nicely it complements Heimweh. The feelings they describe are two sides of the same coin, and the words themselves reflect that.

I have more experience with Fernweh than with Heimweh. The extent of my homesickness here and at college has been thinking "I look forward to calling home this weekend." That's about it. However, I wanted so badly to go to Germany that every time I thought about it I had to suppress a giggle. Of Course, that was a desire to go to a specific place for specific reasons, not just a desire to explore new places, which is what wanderlust and Fernweh generally mean. I don't care so much about returning to roots or exploring new places.

Mostly, I want to be where I intend to be later. That means that after high school, I wanted to be at college. I have felt relatively little desire to go back to the high school, although I loved it at the time. While heading back home after the school year ended, I looked forward to getting back simply because that was the next step, and I don't like being halfway between destinations. For quite some time, I've thought about working and living in Germany. I see it as my future, and for that reason I wanted so desperately to come here. This probably sounds unbelievably cold, but then I'm the sort of person who recycles Birthday cards straight after reading them because I don't need them anymore.

After class, I attended a lecture on film in Berlin, both Berlin films and films set in Berlin. The lecturer brought up old silent movies, east German and west German films, a bit about the Third Reich, etc. Here are the films she spoke specifically about.

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari:  Germany, 1920

Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler:    Germany, 1921/22

Symphonie einer Großstadt: Germany, 1927

Die Mörder sind unter uns: GDR, 1946

One, Two, Three: USA, 1961

Die Legende von Paul und Paula: GDR, 1973

Solo Sunny:  GDR, 1980

Der Himmel über Berlin: BRD and France, 1987
Das Leben ist eine Baustelle: BRD 1996

According to the lecturer, all of these films are available in the media center at the Goethe Institut. I'm going to see if I can't watch a few of them in my spare time.

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