Good Bye Lenin! was perhaps, one of my favorite films throughout the whole entirety of the class, as it felt intimate and personal despite the story revolving around a context that was far out of my reach. For someone who barely had any idea of the specifics of what really happened and went down during the fall of the Berlin Wall, the way the film was presented and sequenced still allowed me to kind of catch up and get on the flow of things. However, besides gaining more knowledge on the details of Germany’s history, I was really fascinated by the narrative set by the story about a boy and his mother, and two siblings trying to navigate their way through big changes in their lives.
“These are 30,000 East Marks! That was our money, for 40 damn years! Now you, you Western fuck, you want to tell me it’s worth nothing?”, Alex remarked frustratingly. The shift in political ideology meant the currencies meant nothing, and the end of the revolution was the beginning of a massive change awaiting to happen. I honestly felt uncomfortable and uneasy in all the scenes of Alex and the mother, finding myself at the edge of my seat because I was always worried that the mother would eventually find out about all of the lies and fabrications done by the people around her, just so she would not see what is actually happening outside of the time capsule bedroom that she was practically imprisoned in for reality would most likely break her heart, perhaps, both literally and figuratively.
I honestly resonated well with the characters, as they tried to navigate their way through adulthood and the changes that it brought to their lives. In the face of a capitalist, materialist society, life is fast paced and horribly confusing, and often times, the world seems to constantly take away one’s sense of security and stability. Ariane even had to give up her prestigious economics degree from university and ended up working in Burger King where every day seems like it was exactly the same as yesterday—lines rehearsed, smiles practiced, hours counted, and body already trained to get into the routine of things. It was a painful reality that I could still see happening even to this day. As someone who is graduating soon, it always worries me as well how I am ever going to find a sense of belongingness and security again in these days wherein life is so quick and it always seems like every day is a battle for survival, just like what Alex and Ariane had to deal with. I think majority of the film was really also about a group of youth learning to let go and get the hang of things, which I felt was relatable to a lot of us who watched it.
“The country my mother left was a country she had believed in, and which we kept alive until her last second. A country that in fact never existed like this. A country that in my memory will always be connected to my mother.”