Here’s your weekly German media recommendation from Monoglot Anxiety. This time, it’s the 2003 film Good Bye, Lenin!
This just might be my favorite German-language movie, and since apparently something like 90% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it the thumbs up, I feel safe saying that it is not just subjectively, but also objectively great. Good Bye, Lenin! is a thoughtful tragedy-comedy set in East Berlin. The plot centers on the attempts of a young man named Alex Kerner to hide the dissolution of the DDR from his mother, a dedicated socialist who was in a coma during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Told that she could potentially die after experiencing a major shock, Alex goes to great lengths to maintain tiny bubble of former East Germany around his mother – which, of course, can’t last forever.
Good Bye, Lenin! takes place in and around 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and Germany began the long process of reunification after decades of separation into East and West. It’s a fascinating period, and understanding the (still rather recent) history around reunification will make it a lot easier to understand and appreciate many political and social trends in modern Germany. While you shouldn’t go replacing history textbooks with films, Good Bye, Lenin! might inspire you to learn more — and provides an emotional perspective that you might not get by simply reading up on historical facts.
That’s it for this week!
Elise from Monoglot Anxiety