Compared to other films we’ve seen in class, Good Bye, Lenin! was probably a class favorite as no one really had to bothered, when it came to interpreting what was happening in the film. The film was much more comprehensible, which is probably attributed how recent the movie was filmed and produced.
Good Bye Lenin!, which was released in 2003, sets in 1989 East Berlin. Christiane, who is a single-mother of two and a loyal member of the Socialist Unity Party, enters a coma when she finds her son, Alex, getting arrested in a huge mass of protesters. During the period she was still in her coma, much changed in the country of Germany. The movie’s plot revolved around the real-life occurrence of the German Unification between the East and the West. As she was still unconscious, the film recreates the famous scene of the Berlin Wall was being taken down as a sign of the unification between the two sides of Germany. Much of the events of how East part of Berlin quickly allows and embraces the western culture to enter their borders were shown as the Christiane was still in her coma. You can see Ariane earning a job in the famous Burger King, you see how the border control slowly became much more lenient in each scene as compared to the last.
Like most movies that involve an important character getting into a fatal coma, they eventually have to wake up. When Christiane does get up from her coma, Alex and his sister, Ariane, were advised by doctors that their mother must avoid any form of shock as she could experience a fatal heart attack. Alex does everything he can to take his mother back home and hide everything that has happened while she was asleep. He removes everything in their home that would show any sign of the historic event. He would look for old jars of food in order for her to be able to recognize the food that she ate. He hired kids to sing old songs to her. He looked for old friends of the mother and had them talk to her like nothing happened in the past few years. He ambitiously filmed TV news through his friend to continue to convince his mom that nothing much has changed. Alex’s display of love for his mother was one that I could really relate to. If I had to go through the same thing, in order to save my mother’s life, I would do it without hesitation. Alex’s love for his mom is something I can really appreciate.
The film did a very good job in emphasizing moments and letting the audience understand. The use of effects, in terms of color and audio, made the film much easier to comprehend and appreciate. The use of color was most noticeable between the two periods. Before the Berlin Wall was taken down, you notice that color tones and the mood were much darker. When we start to see the city a little bit more liberated and westernized, it started to get much brighter and colorful, which I believe sets a much lighter mood for the audience. The use of sound effects was noticeable through the use of a powerful sound in the scene of when Christiane was finally able to see the reality of the situation in the streets of Berlin, as the helicopter was lifting the statue of Lenin.
Overall, the movie was one that I could really appreciate. Films that play around with “What if?” situations in actual historic events are ones that actually interest me. I look forward to more European films that will do the same thing and depict other famous historic events in Europe.