Sunday, March 25, 2007

Goodbye Lenin!

Last night I watched Goodbye Lenin! It had been recommended to me by several people and it deals with the end of communism. This movie is amazing, funny, intelligent and sad. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

The movie tells the story of a highly committed communist East German woman who falls into a coma right before the wall is torn down. She wakes up 8 months later to a world that is completely different. Only, her son refuses to let her know what has happened for fear that it will cause another heart attack and kick her. He sticks her in her room, creates fake news programs and generally just lies to her. But I think the best part of the movie is when he admits to himself that he created the communist society for her that he, and everyone else, wished had really existed.

And that's the sad part. In the west we assume that the end of communism was the best thing that happened to these people. But we forget that many of these people, and their parents and even grandparents before them, strove to create the perfect communist society. Many of these people believed in the ideology even when the leaders appeared to forget. And the fall of communism economically devastated thousands of people. Even if these people wanted political, religious and economic freedom, they still lost the only way of life they had ever known. This journey had to have been terrifying even for those who wanted it most. Imagine what it was/is like for those who once believed in the perfect communist society. Goodbye Lenin! deals with the issues in a sympathetic way. The ending of the movie is triumphant, both for those who considered themselves Leninist and those who wanted freedom.

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