Goodbye Lenin Good bye, Lenin!

Wolfgang Becker

Date: 2003   —   15.99   —   DVD / VHS

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This is an excellent film and seems to be one of the few recent German films to have crossed over to the UK, and a good thing it did. I thoroughly enjoyed it, went to the cinema again to see it a second time, there is humour, sensitivity, a good plot and it’s very well shot it does credit to the German film industry. The story is set in East Berlin around the time of the fall of the wall – remember that East Berlin was quite a priviledged place to live in the GDR- anyone who was in Berlin at or around that time will pick up the resonance of that atmosphere. There are 3 principle characters Alex his sister Anja and their Mother who is a prominent member of the local Socialist party, the children’s father fled to the West years earlier. Alex is involved in a demonstration, he is seen by his mother who has a heart attack and falls into a coma. When she wakes the state is crumbling and Alex decides it is better for her to come home, they are advised by the doctor that any further shock or excitement may result in another cardiac arrest, Alex has to decide what to do about the fact that since his mother collapsed the country as she knows it no longer exists.
There are a number of very GDR style references and in that respect it is meticulously researched and well acted by the protagonist Alex (Daniel Bruehl) who is not from the GDR. If you have any experience of the GDR the film will have just that extra little level for you the significance of ‘Spreewald Guerken’ and such like.
I found the film explored relationships between a Mother and her Son as well as the relationship of a person within a state, there are some pointed political digs in here. It does so with great humour and warmth. I have recommended the film to non-German speakers who have enjoyed it as much as me.