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Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] 
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The year is 1989 and East and West Germany are still divided. Alex (Daniel Bruhl) and his sister Ariane (Maria Simon) live in East Germany with their single mother, Christiane (Katrin Sass) who is a staunch Socialist. When Alexs mother witnesses his arrest on a protest march, she suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma for eight months, just enough time for the Berlin Wall to come tumbling down, along with all of East Germanys ideals. Eight months later, Christiane wakes up and things have changed. The doctors warn Alex that any shock could bring on a fatal heart attack. He then realizes he must convince his mother that her beloved Communism has not been overthrown but is in fact triumphing over Capitalism. Alex then sets out to recreate every detail of the old East inside the four walls of their tiny council flat what begins as a little white lie soon turns into a major deception with hilarious consequences!
Contemporary comedies rarely stretch themselves beyond a bickering romantic couple or a bickering couple and a bucket of bodily fluids, which makes the ambition and intelligence of Goodbye, Lenin! not simply entertaining but downright refreshing. The movie starts in East Germany before the fall of communism; our hero, Alex (Daniel Bruhl), describes how his mother (Katrin Sass), a true believer in the communist cause, has a heart attack when she sees him being clubbed by police at a protest. She falls into a coma for eight months--during which the Berlin Wall comes down. When she awakens, her fragile health must avoid any shocks, so Alex creates an illusive reality around his bedridden mother to convince her that communism is still alive. Goodbye, Lenin! delicately balances wry satire with its rich investment in the lives of Alex, his mother, and other characters around them.
On the DVD: Though the DVD extras for Goodbye Lenin! include a detailed featurette on the digital effects used in the movie (particularly intriguing because they had to be completely invisible--many viewers won't realize there were digital effects until they see this featurette) and a convivial cast commentary (in German with English subtitles) with Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sass, and Alexander Beyer, the star of the DVD is director Wolfgang Becker himself. Not only is his commentary rich with historical information and thoughtful notes about the making of the movie, for the deleted scenes (including two lovely scenes that expand on the relationship between Alex and his girlfriend Lara) he and Tom Tykwer (director of Run Lola Run and part of the X Filme collective that produced Goodbye Lenin!) have an insightful conversation about the editing process, storytelling, and the essence of watching a movie. Utterly fascinating, and invaluable to any aspiring filmmaker. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Being a german student, you might think I'm rather biased, but this film really does german cinema justice. For once, a film that refers back to an important part of germany's history, but at the same time, isn't afraid to laugh at itself. I'm talking about all the little references made to coca cola, that capitalist pig of a company, and to the extensive waiting lists for cars. This film makes you see how ludicrous and laughable the situation had become in the GDR, but of course, back then no one was laughing.
But its not all meaningless jokes about the claustrophobic nature of the former soviet bloc. After her heart attack, Alex knows any shock could kill his mother. And what bigger shock, than to wake up from a coma and discover that in fact the country is once again united, coca cola reigns supreme and your daughter has quit college to work at Burger King. At first glance the situation certainly does not look rosy.
Apart from the few odd moments I mentioned earlier, Goodbye Lenin! isn't exactly a laugh out loud comedy. The challenges Alex (played by the brilliant Daniel Brühl) faces to protect his mother from the truth are in many ways humourous, but there are some very moving moments as well. Alex is in every way a devoted son, even if it causes minor tension with other family members.Read more ›
After Alex insists that his mother be released for at-home convalescence, the doctor makes clear that any shock to the patient's system will likely kill her. Since Communism is all that Christiane has ever known, Alex contrives an elaborate scheme to shield his bed-ridden mother from all evidence of The Wall's collapse and the West's victory of materialism over her socialist world. What is she to think of that gigantic Coca-Cola advert hanging from the apartment building opposite her window?
The improbable prospects for the con's success aside, GOOD BYE LENIN is a witty, clever, and sometimes poignant look at the wave of change which swept through East Berlin after the surprisingly sudden meltdown of Die Mauer, carrying forward the young and resilient with the flow, but leaving many bitter, old guard stranded in unfamiliar territory .Read more ›
There was no Coca Cola, McDonald's or Burger King in East Germany, it was all controlled by SED - and they didn't really like western products in the Eastern Bloc.
Christiane Kerner (Katrin Saß) was part of that movement - she was quite a believer in the movement, but her son Alex (Daniel Brühl) didn't really want a split Germany. He went on the protest marches - and his mother spotted him. In shock, she had a heart attack, and now laid in a coma.
Alex does everything he can to help her, but during the coma, The Berlin Wall is knocked down, and West Germany is now linked with East, to form Germany as we know it today. Burger King is now there, and Alex himself becomes a satellite fitter. To save mum having another episode - he has to keep her world as East Germany.
This is a really good movie, even though he's lying to his mother, it's all really funny and done only to save her from dying. I thought the TV reports was the best thing about the film, the way they filmed them themselves to fool his mother into believing that the SED was still going strong. Both leads were excellent, and his girlfriend in the movie; Lara (Chulpan Khamatova ) but really all the cast was very good.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not quite as funny as I thought it would be - well acted but really quite sad.Published 5 months ago by John H. Luxton
Bought because I'm studying it for my A-level, it's a great film with loads of themes and characters to think about so it's brilliant! :)Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is one of the few well known foreign films and for good reason. Daniel Bruhl is, of course, outstanding in his role as the main pusher for the story's plot. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Cass
Very clever film depicting the collapse of the berlin wall and human dynamics of itPublished 7 months ago by fiona hutcheon