Yesterday, I watched “Goodbye Lenin!” a German movie from 2003. A fantastic movie, I can highly recommend it. Great music, sweet humour, excellent art direction. But the story is the winner. It is about a family in DDR, East Germany, 1989-1990. The mother is a party member, big believer in DDR and socialism. She suffers a heart attack and falls into a comma and while she is in the comma, the Berlin wall collapses and Germany unites. The mother wakes up from the comma after eight months but is still very weak and the doctors order her two kids to watch out because even a slightest excitement could kill her. So they decide to pretend nothing happened – they create a completely artificial world and keep DDR living for her, even filming news she is watching every day. But one day, she gets up and sees the influence of West Germany on the streets – in cars and ads. Her kids explain that the West Germany is suffering a recession, the unemployment is rising and people are unhappy and fed with capitalism, its “elbow” character and a world in which a new car and a new video recorder are one’s main objectives in life. So they turn the picture around – they show her pictures of masses escaping into West Germany and make them into West Germans escaping into East Germany, refugees who escape the cruel and unfair capitalism to live in DDR’s fair socialism. And somehow, it all seems so believable…
Congratulations to Arte’s programme editors, because the timing just couldn’t be better.
And a great tip for a fun movie evening: