Good Bye Lenin, written and directed by Wolfgang Becker
8 out of 10
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Given my own experience and the wonderful quality of this film I loved this comedy.
It takes place in East Germany, in 1989.
Some of the events, jokes and situations are probably harder to understand for someone who has lived in the free world.
But for the rest of us, trapped behind the “Iron Curtain”, so much of this film is painfully familiar, even if some aspects are different.
East Germany, for all its backwardness when compared with its federal enemy across the border was far ahead of my country.
In the film, some of the jokes move around different food items, cans that where in the communist German shops.
This is just the point:
- They had those food cans and packages
- Notwithstanding their rudimentary, unattractive look when compared with the capitalist variety, East Germans could get them
We could not.
Whenever they brought in the empty shops bread, butter, oil and I mean Anything! Long queues would be formed.
Our tyrant and regime was crazier, much more like the series of lunatics in North Korea than the likes of Gorbatchev.
Our mad fool wanted to pay all the external debt no matter how many went hungry and died in the process.
So a certain sad smile is added on the face of a viewer from here, for the differences between East, West and after 1989 Germanies are striking and still they belong to a different world from the one in which we suffered over here.
Before 1989 the East German secret police was all too powerful, the STASI would arrest dissidents and opponents of the regime.
This is what happens in the film, in 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, that more many years kept Germans trapped in a dictatorship.
During one protest, Alex, the young hero of the movie is arrested by the communist authorities and his mother has a heart attack.
She enters a coma and only wakes up months later, in a completely different country that has been liberated in the meantime.
Only the doctors fear that such a tremendous shock, of losing conscience in the GDR and waking in capitalist heaven- or hell, depending on political views- some supporters of Bernie Sanders and the like might prefer socialism- I can only hope they have the opportunity to experience it- could be too much for Mutter.
So Alex, his sister and friends create a funny, now obsolete tyranny in which the same old cans are available- lucky East Germans.
Now that Coca Cola and all the new, shinning capitalist brands are on the market, the old labels have disappeared.
So it is difficult and comical to see the young man and co searching through rubbish and pealing on and off old communist brands on bottles and jars.
They organize some funny and phony communist get together with students dressed in the old uniforms near mother’s bed.
Because she wants to see the news and the ones available on TV would give away the new reality, they organize a television set.
And so they record “Fake News”- as the weird orange Donald likes to call all the real media that tells the truth but does not praise, but rightly criticizes his crazy moves-so that mother can hear the old socialist crap.
But there is only so much that the talented, inventive team can do, for there are events beyond their control.
At one point for instance, a huge Coca Cola banner-indeed, what else represents America, capitalism better? - is installed on a nearby building.
The “Fake News” teams come up with silly, awkward and humorous explanations that make this comedy so enjoyable.