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
CGI was used extensively to "de-Westernize" Berlin. Even though it's mostly shot in the former East Berlin and much of the film takes place after the fall of the wall, it's been Westernized since at a furious rate. Many ads for Western products had to be removed, and many colors had to be lightened or grayed significantly. See more »
Alex puts the contents of a pack of Jacobs coffee into GDR packaging, but the logo on the Western coffee package is the one that was launched in the late '90s. See more »
Today there is no more die Deutsche Demokratische Republik, there's no People's Republic of Bulgaria, no Yugoslavia, no Czeskoslovenska Socialisticka Republika, no USSR... The entire "Progressive World", apparently having reached the final stage of political and social self-actualization, decided there's no more place for it to develop into the material existence, and went altogether into Nirvana. They left a political vacuum, a socio-economic crisis, wars, misery, and all else that many of you remember, while others have just seen on TV.
I am born during the last years of communism, but don't remember much of it. What I clearly remember was the downfall of the system. The crowds, the demonstrations, the blue flags, people crying, singing "Freedom! Freedom! Time is ours! 45 years is enough!". My grandmother took me into her hands, so that two polish photographers took a picture of us (she later on told me), and yes, the day after tomorrow we would live like in a wonderful Hollywood film. We didn't. And my entire generation passed its childhood into a lingering crisis, which broke down the society, the values, the morals, people fled the country, as if it was infected with plague.
Today in the place of die Deutsche Demokratische Republik is Ost-Deutschland. A country, where entire buildings are empty, people having moved to the West. Investors don't chose the Ost for their capitals, they'd rather invest into Czech or Poland, where the workers are as qualified and several times cheaper. Today Bulgaria is slowly improving, and maybe in the next 200 years it will catch up the economic standard of the EU. Yugoslavia was torn by war after war, the Soviet Union collapsed into different countries, which had never been independent, Slovakia broke off from the Czech Republc, in search of its own Moravian identity.
And a dream that came to replace the slavery of oppression and Nazism, and that was meant to continue for a thousand years at least, collapsed under its corruption.
But the memory was fresh. The evils of corruption and concentration camps for political prisoners faded away, and only romanticism remained. Memories of a past that never was, or never should have been, or was, and had to be. Red t-shirts with yellow CCCP written on them became fashionable, referring to communism became a sort of a common identity for Eastern European students in western universities, nostalgia filled the hearts of many, and this was also expressed into the arts.
It was a very sad film. I recommend it to all of you, who remember, and don't remember, who know, and don't know, or would like to know, or don't care about, or whatever. It is not a Hollywood high-budgeted blockbuster. It's far from that, but it's touching, true, amusing, and sad.
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