365 Movie Challenge - Day 58
“The German Democratic Republic lives on — in 79 square meters!”
Alex Kerner (Daniel Bruhl) has always been close to his mother, Christiane (Kathrin Sass), since the East German family is abandoned by their father in the late 1970s. Now a teenager in 1989, Alex has grown bitter towards the socialist nation that his mother is “married to.” During a protest that turns ugly, Alex watches as Christiane faints after seeing him arrested. Christiane is placed in a hospital and remains in a coma. In the meantime, Honecker resigns and the wall between East and West is torn down. When Christiane wakes up, she wakes up to a new world, but the doctor warns Alex that she may relapse if she becomes too excited. Alex brings her home to their old flat, where he attempts to recreate the GDP for her.
Director Wolfgang Becker’s 2003 film Goodbye Lenin! is a fantastic dramedy about the changing of the times as seen through this one family. I adore that Alex goes through such lengths to preserve the socialist nation that his mother truly believed in. Smartly, the film does not say that either the socialist GDP or the capitalist ideology it adopted is the better option, but instead finds a middle ground between the two. It does this by focusing on people rather than concepts and how they are affected by history’s changing tide. Alex and his family trade in the controlling nature of the GDP for the PR manipulation of capitalism (enter Coke & Burger King as a signs of a “better” society). Yet, the funny thing is that in an effort to keep reunification a secret from Christiane, Alex creates a better GDP than ever truly existed - one that has more generosity and allows for some individualism without forgetting about the whole country.
Also a great coming of age story, Goodbye Lenin! takes Alex from being a child obsessed with ‘cosmonauts’ to an adult taking on the responsibility of preserving a way of life for his mother. It’s lovely to watch, and gives great insight into just how much changed after the wall fell, and of course, to those of us born in a post Cold War world, that is very interesting indeed.
“My mother outlived the GDR by three days. I believe it was a good thing she never learned the truth. She died happy. She wanted us to scatter her ashes to the winds. That’s prohibited in Germany, both East and West. But we didn’t care. She’s up there somewhere now. Maybe looking down at us. Maybe she sees us as tiny specks on the Earth’s surface, just like Sigmund Jähn did back then. The country my mother left behind was a country she believed in; a country we kept alive till her last breath; a country that never existed in that form; a country that, in my memory, I will always associate with my mother.” - Alex
This is such an amazing movie <3
Ehrlich ein Favorit. :)