German drama co-written and directed by Edgar Reitz. In the fictional Hunsrueck village of Schabbach in 1840, inhabitants struggle with crippling poverty brought on by food shortages and years of bad harvests. The Simon family are particularly affected as patriarch and local blacksmith Johann (Rüdiger Kriese) struggles to put enough food on his family's table despite his best efforts. His son Jakob (Jan Dieter Schneider) tries to keep his head in books and out of his father's wrath but Johann favours his more practical older brother Gustav (Maximilian Scheidt) and berates Jakob for his perceived laziness. Young Jakob dreams of travelling to explore foreign lands and, like many others in the rural region, is tempted to leave by the promise of land in South America from the powerful Portuguese Empire.