Pro-democracy riots and cheering mobs of happy Germans are the images most often associated with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Director Wolfgang Becker aims to portray the effects of German reunification in everyday lives with his film ‘ Goodbye Lenin!”.
It is a movie of that rugged, unhappy time when one system was failing in Germany and another was awkwardly, creepily trying to take its place.
This movie was written by Bernd Lichtenberg and Wolfgang Becker and directed by Becker and is one of the best commercial success German movie.
Becker successfully created a world of restlessness, hope, delusion, anger, rage and thus ultimately the changes in the life of people living during 1989-90 in Germany.
It is an entertaining and surreal black comedy, that does not really stand the test of logic and reality, but beneath the surface it is really a very socially conscious film, that gets across very well, the atmosphere and problems of the post-communist East Germany.
This is a story of Alex, living in East Germany, whose mother, a devoted member of the Communist Party, suffers a heart attack which sends her into a coma – through which she sleeps throughout the months of revolution and the fall of the wall and ultimately the communist regime. When she awakes, the doctors warn Alex not to cause his mother any anxiety or excitement.
The father left Christiane, the mother and her two baby children, and fled to west Germany, who was tortured by the secret police. She filled her need of love with the communist party and thus, Alex thought, that the fact that her beloved party has been demolished along with the wall might be life threatening.
So, Alex decided that his mother would not know that the world she loves and devoted her entire life to, has been demolished.
Instead of concentrating exclusively on the governmental changes of the newly reunified Germany, Becker chose to narrow his lens on the effects that these changes have on one particular Berlin family. By doing this, Becker was able to show the challenges of adapting to a new, unfamiliar way of life and leaving behind the comfortable old ways of doing things.This approach is more personal and easier for the viewer to identify with.
Watch this movie, to dive in the moods and attitudes of the East Berlin population during the year 1989-1990. This movie has created this era brilliantly.
Alex tries to surround his mother with the world, in which she fell into coma. He produced phony news broadcasts, with the help of his friend and played in front of his mother.
Once she saw a coca cola banner outside of her window and enquired about it. To cover this, Alex desperately made a video explaining, that the West is in collapse, Westerners are fleeing to the East and the rights to Coke reverted to the communist nation after it was revealed that its famous formula was devised, not in Atlanta, but in East Germany.
“Goodbye, Lenin!” is not a defense of the GDR, which Alex and his sister, Ariane, are happy to see gone (she’s proud of hew new job at Burger King). The underlying track in this dark and uncomfortable comedy is perhaps psychological rather than political. The psychological changes every German family went through and had no other option, that to get used to these changes.
It is a sad film, which will make you think twice. I recommend it to all of you, who remember, and do not remember, who know, and do not know, or would like to know, or who wants to learn about German history. It is not a Hollywood high-budgeted blockbuster. It is far from that, but it is touching, true, amusing, and sad, all simultaneously.