Good Bye Lenin!

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Written on 12:54 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Good Bye Lenin!
Language: German
Year of Release: 2003
Director: Wolfgang Becker
Actors: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Alexander Beyer
Verdict: **** (Must Watch)

There is a general feeling I have that when God created life, he had chalked an elaborate sketch of how it would take shape. And one day, when it was time for the evolution of humans, he must have thought of who all around a human being's life would be of great influence upom him/her. He's been so generous that (or maybe I should say very sly to relieve himself from doing more work!), he didn't give himself the pinnacle position, rather he seated a lady there and named her Mother. How else can you explain the hierarchy with which we recognise the four most important people...especially in Indian Tradition....it's always...Mother, Father, Teacher and God!...it's always like that! Most of the babies seem to say "Ma" first than any other word...and especially in my part of the world, people shriek "Amma" or "Maaaaa" when they are in pain. Maybe we all owe it to her for the unconditional love, care and support she's showered on us all throughout her life. From time immemorial we have celebrated the phenomenon, which some poets have termed as "God's Greatest Gift"...Mother. Under this premise, Cinema has depicted the role of mother in various shades...sometimes she's the all caring, love, sweet and at times she's the feiry being who will do anything for her loved ones and so on. Out of all those movies from Hollywood and rest of the world that I have seen, there have been three movies so far which changed my perspective of how the West interprets emotions like Love, Marriage, Family.

The first movies about Love...was "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset". The second about Marriage was "Two for the Road", and the third about Family relations is this German flick which I saw couple of weeks ago named, "Good Bye Lenin!". I don't declare that these three are the landmark movies which changed everything, but at some level they did have a great impact on me. Now that you have an idea of what I am about to say, let me get into the skin of this movie...."Good Bye Lenin!".

Directed by Wolfgang Becker, Good Bye Lenin is set in East Germany when it was still a Socialist nation . The Socialist party in German Democratic Republic (GDR) enjoys a huge following in its populace and as it progresses towards the new millenium, even crossing a milestone of sending one of its citizen into space, Sigmund Jähn. Christiane is the mother of two, Alexander Kerner and Ariane living in East Germany. One day, Government agents storm into her house and enquire about the whereabouts of her husband, since the party suspects that he might have escaped to the west. Slowly Christiane dedicates herself completely to her children and to the cause of upliftment of the poor in the neighbourhood which earns her laurels from the Government. The younger generation of the country vexed by the growing distance with the outside world decide to protest against the Government. And this protest march is dealt with some strict force by the Police resulting in several youth being arrested, Alex being one of them. When Christiane happens to witness all this infront of her eyes, she suffers a heart attack and slips into a coma. She continues to be in that state for the next 8 months, during which some striking changes take place in East Germany...like collapsing of the current regime, people breaking the Berlin Wall, West German currency and lifestyle sweeping the whole of East Germany and so on. When Christiane finally manages to wake up, Alex suffers a serious setback when the doctor tells him that she has to be protected from the outside world because she cannot withstand anything which can excite her. All these results in a series of funny, yet warm incidents depicting a desperate trail which her son takes to keep his mother in a stable state and more importantly happy.

The reason why this movie is so remarkable is, it's got a delicate charm in its own way. It's extremely clever in its depiction of transformation; and the fact that this transformation has to do with Germany gives it a compelling authenticity. The world has seen the rapid rate of transformation happening with the fall of Berlin wall...but the theme of a son slogging along with his confidants to recreate a country and life which his mother was so fond takes you by surprise. Before his mother had gone into a coma, he approved of the luxuries which the consumerism of the west provides, but with the drastic turn of events he dreams of that life which had once existed...whose ideals were so honest, yet it wouldn't fall into place of the new age of development.

Watch the movie for some beautiful background score, brilliant story and direction...and more importantly to see how far can one go to keep his loved ones happy....trust me, if you feel what I feel...it will compel you to think a lot about the age of innocence which we once had and that special person who taught you how to interpret things and see the world with your own eyes...I am lost in my dreams...my own Nostalgia. One of the brilliant Foreign Flicks I have seen in recent years...never knew that tragic comedies could be so beautiful.

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1 Comment

  1. Veresh |

    Good review , will you be interested in writing at http://movies.newscrux.com .
    Email me for more info at veresh@newscrux.com

     

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