Home > Uncategorized > Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)

Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)

Good Bye, Lenin! is a 2003 German film directed by Wolfgang Becker starring Daniel Brühl, Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova, and Maria Simon.  This film bases its plot on the events which unfolded during the fall of Communism in East Germany and ultimately the Soviet Union.  The movie begins with a young man named Alex Kerner (Daniel Brühl) who narrates to the audience how his life was in East Germany during the forty year occupation by the Soviet Union.  He explains how his mother was the sole provider of the children due to his father’s absence in the West.  Later, Alex attends a freedom of speech rally in October of 1989 where he is arrested by the Stassi.  Sadly, his mother sees the protestors at the rally and recognizes Alex as a protestor which causes her to collapse due to a heart attack.   Finding his mother to be in a coma, Alex realizes that during her absence, she would miss the collapse of Communism.  Once she awakens from her coma, Alex and his sister Ariane (Maria Simon) are told by her doctor that any extremely happy or sad news should be avoided since that could cause a relapse.  So, both devise a plan to trick their mother into believing that Communism is still alive and well.

One of the prominent themes expressed in this film was how the plot was a comprised of a body of lies.  For example, Alex and Ariane are lying to their mother about the real state of affairs within Berlin and Germany.  Sadly, Alex and Ariane have been duped as well.  Their mother, Christiane (Katrin Sass), reveals that she has been lying to them about the reason their father left East Germany.  It is revealed that he did not leave because he had a girlfriend in the West, but rather he was the first to go to the other side so that they could escape safely and meet up with him in West Berlin.   Another theme present in the film was that of loyalty.  For example, the audience gathered that Christiane loved her husband but he left so she placed her loyalty with the state.  The audience also sees loyalty in the way Alex and his sister Ariane are so dedicated to the well-being of their mother.

The plot of this film was very interesting and well designed.  The film’s storyline was intended to follow the East/West division and their differences.  These contrasts of living and lifestyle provided the audience with an enjoyable plot centering around the fall of the Soviet Union.  Another interesting element this film incorporated was its use of proper setting for the time of the unification.  For example, once East and West conjoined, Alex and Ariane bought new furniture and clothing.  Once they brought their mother home, they had to change all of their apparel and furniture back to the appearance it had when their mother was at home eight months prior.

Many of the features used in this film were quite helpful in expressing the intended emotions and information for the plot.  One of the many aspects incorporated by the director/cinematographer was how flashbacks and old camera shots to actual past events came into use.  For example, the film featured many old reels showed troops marching in the street, peace protesters in a city square, and even the “Wall’s” collapse.   These brief scenes provide the audience with real scenes which occurred at the time and basically added a realistic element to the film.  Overall, the plot was interesting and even contained a few comedic elements which added to the film’s persona of being a dramatic but comedic film about the East and West divide during the early 90’s.

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