Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Goodbye, Lenin!

R. first watched Goodbye, Lenin! while living in Germany and loved it enought to include a copy of the film in our most recent Amazon order. We all piled onto the sofa to watch it together this afternoon to celebrate her homecoming/end of exams--at first I was more focused on spotting the landmarks we'd seen in Berlin, and R. inadvertently got me noting little things that reminded me of Donnie Darko once she'd mentioned that Daniel Bruhl looks like Jake Gyllenhaal, but I soon settled down and we all really enjoyed the movie.

Alexander and Ariane Kerner's father's defection to the West leaves their mother catatonic and, for awhile, hospitalized. Once recovered, Christiane dedicates herself to such wholehearted support for the Communist Party that she collapses in the street when she spots Alex taking part in a protest march scant weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

She remains in a coma for eight months, and is deemed by her doctor as being much too fragile to withstand any stress once she awakens. Alex determines that the only way to keep her from suffering another heart attack is to keep her from learning of the fall of communism--he and his sister must rid their apartment of all the westernized products they'd been quick to buy and the neighbors must be prompted not to mention reunification. With the help of a friend who wishes to become a filmmaker, Alex creates fake news shows and manages to convince his mother that Coca-Cola was a communist invention and that the influx of westerners in East Berlin is due to the success of communism, not its defeat.

I usually don't bother with special features on dvds, but I'm looking forward to the commentary on this one and the featurette on "Lenin Learns to Fly," which is probably my favorite scene from the movie.

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