Tag Archives: Germany

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.