For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
With the intention to break free from the strict familial restrictions, a suicidal young woman sets up a marriage of convenience with a forty-year-old addict, an act that will lead to an outburst of envious love.
East Germany, the year 1989: A young man protests against the regime. His mother watches the police arresting him and suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma. Some months later, the GDR does not exist anymore and the mother awakes. Since she has to avoid every excitement, the son tries to set up the GDR again for her in their flat. But the world has changed a lot. Written by
The Russian writer Olga Slavnikova has released a bestseller novel "Bessmertnyj" in October 2001, which has a similar plot as the movie. The story in the book is about an elder citizen of Ekatirenburg, who is a paralyzed veteran of WW2. His daughter tries to make his life easier by creating him an alternative world, which is ruled by the Soviet party, which requires recreation of video material about the USSR. Also the man dies by an infarct. Because of the similarities, Slavnikova announced that she will sue the creators of "Good Bye Lenin!" for plagiarism. However a trial has not been done, which was also advised by the Russian media to Slavnikova not to do it. Futhermore the movie filming was already in progress when the book was released, which means, the screenplay was ready before the book was released. See more »
After Ariane finds the letters from her father hidden in the kitchen, she holds one on which Christiane's name is misspelled as Christine. See more »
This was a good film, and I think it needed to be made. A way of life disappeared in Europe, perhaps forever, and it seems appropriate that the fall of Communism has thus been documented.
The basic premise of "Goodbye Lenin" is that the young man's mother is in a coma over the months when the Berlin Wall is coming down. She wakes up (oblivious) in united Germany, but as she is so fragile she cannot be allowed to know that everything she held dear has collapsed. What ensues is a comic and moving scenario - her son does his best to pretend that nothing has changed.
Yes, the movie is a little drawn-out. And most of the comedy is lost on non-Germans, or those unaware of the political climate in the region. However, there are clear universal issues to be considered; idealism, hope, family. There is one particular scene which I thought encompassed exactly how the main protagonist feels - he is at a bank trying to change his mother's old East German currency into Deutschmarks but the deadline has passed. He becomes aggravated by the sheep-like behaviour of his peers. After all, this is their culture being crushed by McCapitalism, but their individual vaunting ambition blinds them from doing something about it. Very refreshing to see this on the big screen.
All in all, "Goodbye Lenin" is a nicely-rounded statement of where the European film industry is heading, and it will appeal to most independent-minded people on both an artistic and political level. 8/10.
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