Good Bye, Lenin!, 2003

Posted: January 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

The clip above is the climax of the film, Good Bye, Lenin, directed by Wolfgang Becker. In her condition, Christiane, played by Katrin Sass, was directed to stay in bed and avoid any form of excitement in order for her to prevent another heart attack. As was displayed in the movie, Christiane was in a coma for eight months and was not aware of the Berlin Wall coming down. Her son, Alex Kerner, played by Daniel Bruhl, and the other people whom are a part of her life were creating a false life for her to believe. Alex and his friend even created news reports to tell her that East Berlin and West Berlin were still feuding. In this scene, however, she first comes to wonder that things have changed. For example, she finds out that one of the movers is from West Berlin and she also continues to see advertisements such as the Ikea signs. The most emotional part of the scene is when she sees the Vladimir Lenin statue being taken away by a helicopter. At this point in the movie, Christiane comes to realize that the world has changed and the people around her may have been telling lies. In addition, the audience is very worried for the health of Christiane, especially when her children run to her with extreme concern.

One of the major themes in this film is the contrast between the old times and the new and the question of nostalgia or embracing the past. After their mother came out of the coma she was in for several months, her children Alex and Ariane, along with their friends, formed a false world for her. This world was based on life eight months ago, the life she missed. Alex went out and searched for Spreewald Pickles in order to satisfy her craving for these pickles. The significance of this is that this brand of pickles was not sold in any stores in East Berlin bust instead they were imported from Holland. Ever since East and West Berlin began to get along, the world slowly started to change and Christiane missed out on all of it. She continued to show her nostalgia of the past by desiring to return to the weekend cabin their family went to. The theme continued regarding embracing the past because Alex and his co-worker made Christiane’s bedroom exactly the same way it was before her coma in order to preserve her memory. However, the contrast between the old and the new was important because they did choose to tell her mother some things that she slept through. For instance, they informed her that she was a grandmother now. Ariane told her that she and her husband had a child named Paula and Alex told her that she had a new girlfriend named Lara. Finding this balance between the old and the new was a significant theme that occurred throughout the film.

  Family on the way to the weekend cabin

 The weekend cabin

 Preserving Christiane’s room

A minor theme in the movie, Good Bye, Lenin is love. The love that is highlighted the most in the film is that between Alex and Lara. They first meet on the streets during a protest against West Berlin. Alex was choking on an apple and Lara saved him from suffocating. Later on they were reunited in the hospital because Lara was a nurse for his mother. Alex and Lara started to see more and more of each other and went out on dates with each other. Over time, their love grew stronger and stronger. Another important love is that between Alex and his mother. Alex showed his love to his mother through his actions by visiting often in the hospital. He was also the one to force the issue on bringing his mother home to live with him. Another example of the love he portrayed to his mother was when he invited all of her friends to their house for her birthday. Throughout the film, Alex shows the love for his mother more than any other character.

 Alex and Lara

 Alex and Christiane

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