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.
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
Jürgen Vogel has two appearances in the film. First he has a cameo as one of the arrested protesters (in the front row, wearing a blue jacket) and later he appears as the chicken in the supermarket (a reference to Wolfgang Becker's earlier film Das Leben ist eine Baustelle. (1997)) for which he is credited as "Das Küken" ("young chicken"). 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 »
My mother outlived the GDR by three days. I believe it was a good thing she never learned the truth. She died happy. She wanted us to scatter her ashes to the winds. That's prohibited in Germany, both East and West. But we didn't care.
She's up there somewhere now. Maybe looking down at us. Maybe she sees us as tiny specks on the Earth's surface, just like Sigmund Jähn did back then. The country my mother left behind was a country she believed in...
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A CPR instructional diagram is included in the end credits. See more »
'Good Bye, Lenin!' is a fascinating German film that was for unclear reasons denied a best foreign film nomination in the recent Oscars, but I consider it one of the best films I've seen this year. 'Good Bye, Lenin!' is an entertaining and surreal black comedy, that doesn't really stand the test of logic and reality, but beneath the surface it's really a very socially conscious film, that gets across very well the atmosphere and problems of the post-communist East Germany.
The story is of Alex, whose mother, a devoted member of the Communist Party, suffers a heart attack which sends her into a coma - through which she sleeps throughout the months of revolution and the fall of the communist regime. When she awakes, the doctors warn Alex not to cause his mother any anxiety or excitement; therefore, he goes to ludicrously immense lengths to keep her convinced that communism in East Berlin is still alive. Not much of it, once again, stands the test of reason, but it's incredibly witty and entertaining, and manages, throughout, to get across some powerful statements.
'Good Bye, Lenin!' is both fun and important, a film which I recommend to everyone. Don't be afraid of European cinema; even though the film might be difficult to come by, it's very rewarding and well worth your time.
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