Category Archives: Historical context

The History of Berlin: The End of the Old and the Beginning of the New

“Bye-bye communism” should have been the name of the movie. The hilarious film shows the beginning of the end communism in Europe and the world. Its almost easy to forget how divided Berlin was before the fall of the wall or for that matter the globe. Its explains the real historic event in a humorous way but without compromising the integrity that democracy represented for many in those times. In less than 30yrs. Germany has shaken its communist past. In that span of time people of younger generations probably never new that Germany was divided. This is a testament to the resilience admiration to freedom the German people display.

The film centers around Alex who in the beginning of the film is like every other young person in the east, protesting for change. Ironically Alex meets Lara who save him from choking during the protest. Lara eventually becomes Alex girlfriend in the film. He just wants to live in a society where he can choose what to do. Alex does become more sympathetic to socialism when he deceives his sick mother. Granted the first thing he does when the wall comes down is go see porn in the west, but that’s his choice. Just one of the many side humor notes in the movies in reference to freedom.
It’s interesting to see how far the German people have come since the fall of socialism. Youth like Alex, who was 22yrs. at the time according to the movie. This is the same generation who would pushed German forward. This is the same generation that battled to reunify German and shake the ghosts of its communist past. In the day of GDR half of Berlin was in shambles due to communism, but today Berlin is once again being known as an international city. In the film this is represented by actual footage of western and eastern Germans tearing down the wall making the city whole once more.
In the movie we see Alex trying to hide the present but in continuously encroaches on the lie that he’s created. I great point made there, no matter how hard he tried nobody can hold back progress. Once Berlin came together Ariane quits school and starts working at Burger King, super hilarious. This moment in the movie also has great importance because in the east everybody had to have a degree, but in the west this wasn’t the case not all people desire to be in highly educated job or life. To me that’s perfectly fine and now thanks to democracy its ok in Germany as well.
This film is truly impressive the way it displays all walks of life. While maintaining its integrity in unbiased approach. Surely their people who were not happy about the east, but it’s the past now. Nobody can argue that Germany is a better nation for what happen in history. This film is more then just another funny movie. All though I agree the best way to portray such a sensitive subject is through humor. It’s great to note the Germans themselves received the movie with open arms. Another mark showing that a people and a nation are looking forward.
This movie is an example to the whole world what life was like not too long ago. Just think of this way, if you were in east Germany you think this film would be allowed. Nobody wants to be in a society where xvideos is censored. The movie lets everybody know that change can be shocking and scary, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing.

A Journey from Two to One Germany through the Eyes of Alex

Good bye Lenin! Rewarded as the Best European Film at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival is the most commercially successful German movie in history. The film provides the glimpse of one of the major European historical event and revolves around during the collapse of Berlin wall .The movie depicts the effect of German reunification on the people and highlights many social and political issues. The Film is based on the story of a young boy named Alex and his fragile mother and his struggle to keep his avid communist mother alive and explores the reunification of East and West Germany through his life.
Alex’s mother, Christiane Kerner, is an avid follower of the Socialist party and a strong political activist, when she sees her son Alex being arrested in an anti-government protest, suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma shortly before the fall of the Berlin’s Wall. During her unconscious stage Germany faces many changes from the fall of Berlin wall to German reunification. But for Christiane, this news might turn to a shock and a relapse. Alex being aware of the fact that even slightest shock could become threat to his mother’s life, Alex hides the fall of the GDR from his mother and maintains the delusion that things are pretty normal in the German democratic republic. He tries to create the GDR again for her in their apartment by decorating the flat in its previous decor, replacing old clothes, and feeding his mother in old labeled jars as earlier. But like all deception, gradually it becomes complicated and even more difficult to maintain.
Despite everything, Christiane seldom witnesses strange incidences, such as a huge Coca-Cola ad banner spreading out on a building outside the flat on which Alex portrays his own story regarding the claim of patent dispute of Coca Cola’s invention to GDR from West. Even Alex and his buddy creates their own fake special reports by editing old tapes of news broadcasts, pretending to his mother to be a live broadcast. Thus Becker enfolds the Alex’s heart touching attempts to save his mother in every possible way and its is more of coming of age with sub-plots including the development of Alex’s relationship with Nurse Lara and Ariane’s job at Burger king after she quits her university study.
But one day Christiane ventures out from that tiny fictional world, sees a changed world herself. She learns that the streets are flooded with Westerners and is perplexed by all the ads for Coke. Alex and Denis again construct a fictional story to her that Westerners are fleeing to the East and produce fake newscasts reporting that the West is facing collapse and the Coke’s right has reverted to the communist nation.
Good bye Lenin is an idiosyncratic comedy, because it never utterly says the self deception which leads Christiane to support the Communist Party. In the end of the movie it is surprisingly suggested that she may have replaced her spouse with that of communist party as an act of compensation to her emotional trauma as in the earlier part of the movie it is learnt that his father abandoning his family behind flee over the Berlin wall to the west.
The film has many ups and downs and is a nostalgic as it is reflects and represents how the societies’ significant changes can adamantly affect people. The movie is marvelously entertaining, witty and occasionally poignant, tragic-comedy dealing with issues related with relationships, bonds to those of political, social and cultural. It gives a great insight of how the whole transition of communist to western world democracy influenced people.

Receptive depiction of Berlin’s Fall Leading to Political and Social Turmoil

GOOD BYE LENIN! is a tragic-comedy of a bittersweet type. It has revealed the intricacy of life in the midst the buoyancy of freedom, temptation of westernization, and the saddle of hasty change. Set against the historic collapse of the Berlin Wall, the movie combines the comedy of situation, irony of destiny, and the clashing alliance between reality and the fiction, hence depicting a underlying tale of being.

The most important theme in the movie is the constant concurrence between the old German Democratic republic (GDR) and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Central Character Alex represents the westernized values as are the protestors who want to smooth the path for western influence and seek the fall of Socialism.

It is a blaze on a dictatorial rule which started spitting the mentalities within the nation. The outcome of which is a generation commended to westernization. This movie gives an inspired summary of Socialist principles in wider contexts, such as the military and function of the nation as well as it’s filtration into the minds of the individuals.

In Goodbye Lenin, the revolt by the people is shown in the start, everything else flowed from that, changing the lives of people, and ending the word “Communism”. Goodbye Lenin is rich in visual representation, wit and humor and gives an accurate historical impression of how these changes affected the lives of East German people and their responses in return.

The fall of Berlin Wall is an important historical event not only for German but for entire World. The Movie Good bye Lenin! Is mainly a political satire on the absurd political system. The historical context in the movie is the leading part in the plot and gives very small overview of the political system of that time. Movie is more focused on the lives of East German people rather than depicting any political history involved. The movie mainly stress on struggles of people living in the east German before and after the fall of Berlin wall and reunification of East and West Germany into one drastically affected the lives of the people in that nation such as changes in to lifestyles, changes in currency, disregard of the east.

History of Berlin: Few nations in the world have borne the turbulent history as similar to Berlin. Before the Second World War, the amalgamated countries signed a Potsdam Treaty which defined the Berlin’s borders. Hence Berlin was divided into 2 parts with Soviet influence in the East and US, French and British influence in the west an later the two cities split into two through the creation of a wall called Berlin Wall. The wall separated the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the East from the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in the west.

In the East German Democratic Republic asserted the rigorous and powerful control on the city and on citizen though communism. People were forced to live in a harsh and restricted manner and were forced to break the ties from the loved once living in the West with no contacts for several years.

The movie does not talk negative about the GDR, neither supports the GDR. It does not provide any insight into the dark side of the East Germen Government but more focuses on the struggle of a family affected by those changes occurred post Reunification.

Overall I think Good Bye Lenin! is a remarkably enjoyable movie with a great idea but it falls short in strengthening characters and bi-plots. The movie constantly entertains in humorous and mentally provoking way while shows societies’ significant transformation and how that can critically influence someone’s life.

Keeping the GDR Alive: The Kerner Family after the Collapse of the Berlin Wall

In the Film Goodbye Lenin, Christiana Kerner—the mother of Alex and Ariane—falls into a coma after witnessing her son at an anti-government rally, herself a strong advocate of Socialism and a political activist. Soon after Christiana falls into her coma, the Berlin Wall is taken down. With each newly dismantled piece of brick and dust, a new way of life enters East Germany. This event was one of historical significance and a great deal of fame in fact. The wave of change which swept over East Germany at this time brought a new social, political, and economic landscape. The residents in East Germany were suddenly overwhelmed with new rights such as the right to vote for a plethora of political parties, freedom of speech, and freedom of movement. They were free to join trade unions, to insist on better working conditions and better pay. The media including television, radio, and newspaper were no longer censored nor controlled by the state. Secret police no longer roamed the streets and political prisoners were not taken any more.

But of course such a distinct change was not without its issues. While all citizens were now free, they were not necessarily better off. The replacement of Soviet aid with capitalism meant a great deal of job loss and higher unemployment. The society security payments and welfare plans of old were reduced. Those specialists once highly regarded and highly paid by the communist state, including sports individuals, artists, scientists, and academics, were no longer paid. The government was unable to afford a large police force or army which meant an increase in political violence and crime.

Christiana’s generation relished the East German lifestyle, but the younger generation including her son were not interested. They no longer cared about politics and sought capitalism with open arms.

In the film, Alex struggled to keep the ideology of the GDR alive for his mother, especially when she craved some of her favorite delicacies like Globus Peas or Spreewald Pickels both of which were nearly impossible to find in the increasingly westernized supermarkets. The GDR products were devalued immediately by the introduction of western commodities, a legitimate glimpse into the historical turn of events, and they were equally despised by Ariane and Alex. This caused emotional value to intrinsically develop to these products, products to which the mother clung and products the children hated. Ariane, for example, wants to move beyond the old Eastern lifestyle by getting a western boyfriend and a job at Burger King.

The New East Berlin

Without the restrictions of communication, Alex and Ariane were able to take advantage of the richness brought about by the west. With their mother still confined to her bed following her waking from a coma, the two children were able to dress as they wanted and live their lives as they wanted with their mother confined to the East Berlin replicate apartment. Alex and his girlfriend Lara encounter an empty apartment with GDR food and furniture likely left behind when the owners made their way to the west when the wall came down. The two attend a party of young people drinking and dancing, enjoying drugs. This event, while seemingly normal in the West, was unheard of in the East before the wall came down. Of course, these events display the influence of the west without necessarily stating that they are good or bad. One might view the scene of the drugs and partying with disdain at the negative influence of the west while others may praise the freedoms afforded by this change.

Berlin’s Historical Developments: The Tearing Apart and Rebuilding of a Single City

This film, by way of retracing the steps of the Kerner Family, is able to take pot shots at the ideologies of both capitalism and communism. It converts this one family crisis into a symbol of Germany’s attempts to rebuild themselves as a nation and heal the wounds of their past.

The historical context of this film dominates the plot and provides viewers with very little knowledge about the political era during which it was set, or how life was before the changes, or even how life changed so dramatically for those people in the East after. Of course, viewers with any personal history or memory of the time period will be whisked away to a nostalgia of the historical transformation of Germany both good and bad.

Few capitals around the world have endured the tumultuous history that Berlin had to endure. As the Second World War came to a close, the allied countries including the Soviet Union, United States of America, Great Britain, and France, all signed what became known as the Potsdam Treaty. This treaty defined the borders not just for Germany but for Berlin. In the following decades, Berlin was divided between the Soviet influences of the East and the U.S., French, and British influence of the west. Soon enough the already separated city was split into two in 1961 with the creation of the Berlin Wall. The wall officially separated the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the East from the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in the west.

In the East, where the Kerner Family lived, the GDR maintained strict control over the lives of the citizens and city by way of communism. Families were forced to live in a restricted existence cut off from loves ones on the West with little to no contact for more than two decades.

This film brings into the question the feelings a family might have faced seeing the wall get bigger and more impassable, feelings of safety for some and yet feelings of being trapped for others.  Becker works hard to create a believable East Berlin, one reflective upon what it was like for families at the end of the 1980’s with people clinging to the familiar, to what they know, and younger people seeking out change from the oppression they saw in the security seen by their elders.

In fact, the lead actor, the director, and the scriptwriter have personal links to East Berlin, using their personal experiences and knowledge to enhance the authenticity of the film. They coursed cars, artefacts, and clothes from that time period in order to bring to life the authenticity of the time period. Becker stated that the cost for recreating a 1989 East Berlin scene was underestimated and within two weeks the entire allocated budget had been spent.

Reflections on the Utopian City

The director, Wolfgang Becker, and Alex worked hard to create a utopian German Democratic Republic, a key aspect to the film which many viewers have complained was far from the reality of the time. The film does not mention negative sides to the political party, leaving out how they spied on even their supporters, how poorly refugees trying to leave the party were treated, or of Bautzen the notorious torture prison reserved for political rebels. By not including the darker side of the East Germany government Becker has shown only a positive side influencing the overall tone of the film from one focused on the dark side of a vicious historical government to one focused on the day to day struggles of this family.