Leaving Comfort, Embracing Change

Charming and poignant, Wolfgang Becker’s 2003 film, Good Bye, Lenin! showcased messages straight to the point. Lenin is reference to Vladimir Lenin, a revolutionary having been the leader of the world’s first communist state and who, therefore, represents socialism. In face value, the film revolves around Alex Kerner in his attempt to keep the fall of the GDR a secret from his socialist mother, Christiane Kerner, for as long as possible. This is with knowing that the slightest shock would cause a heart attack for Christiane, which could prove fatal for her health. This, however, becomes a problem when Christiane starts to feel better and proves herself able to get up and roam around again. However, digging a bit deeper and in my interpretation, Good Bye, Lenin! mainly revolves around how while older “East” Germans resist the change as they try to grasp on the memories of the past and the remnants of the socialist society they had before the fall of the Berlin wall, while the youth lets go of communism in “East Germany” and embraces capitalism.

Out of the five unconventional and uniquely-styled films that we have watched until the next, I could say that I liked watching Good Bye, Lenin! most. This is not to say that I had enjoyed it the most, as it is without question that that is A Woman is A Woman. But with Good Bye, Lenin!, I was familiar with the way the plot was designed and, therefore, comfortable with watching it. Good Bye, Lenin! focuses on embracing change, trying new things and experiences, and leaving our comfort zones. However, given that, I found that there is an irony in watching it, because, on one hand, the kind of film that Good Bye, Lenin! is is what I am comfortable watching – mainly due to its contemporariness in effects, dramatics, and plot. On the other hand, the films that we have watched beforehand, with regard to their uniqueness in plots and differences in cinematic styles, gave us a chance to embrace the wide range of films that the film industry, specifically the European film industry, has, with regard to the differences in decades and geography, and, thus, culture. In other words, due to the familiarity of Good Bye, Lenin!, as compared to the films we have watched beforehand, I can say that I was in my comfort zone when I was watching it whereas I was able to embrace changes in film aspects from the other four, which is really ironic, as Good Bye, Lenin! emphasizes how one steps out of his/her comfort zone.

Conclusively, for me, it felt comforting to watch Good Bye, Lenin!, because contemporary films usually portray subtle dramatics and would tend to lean towards comedic dramatizations. Furthermore, it is a common theme in 2000’s films to exhibit characters with difficulties in grasping change and would tend to showcase the lingering nostalgia (which in the film, specifically, is nostalgia for the “East Germany” that no longer exists). This is also relatable in real life, as some people who have been used to living in conservative societies would tend to be like the adult characters shown in the film – unaccepting and radically forcing conservatism, something most, especially the youth, feels constricted with.

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