The End of East Germany

Good Bye Lenin! is a film that explores the fall of East Germany on a personal level. My primary takeaway from the film is that eventually time catches up to you. Both the death of Alexander’s mother and the fall of the GDR are inevitable. By recreating the GDR for their mother’s health the family is artificially extending the “existence” of the GDR and their own mothers life. The mother finally passing away represents a sort of acceptance not only of her death but the symbolic death of East Germany. The GDR’s decline and downfall are played out to coincide with different periods of Alexander’s life. While the GDR falls, the charade of its continued existence is played out to protect Alexander’s mother from the truth. This is reflected in my opinion in Alexander creating a sort of charade that his own mother will be able to recover even after the doctor told him otherwise going as far to say that “doctors can be wrong” to justify the hope that his mother will recover after her second heart attack. I can see this movie being sort of symbolic of the realization of East Germans that their country was no more. The idealistic mother falling ill and passing away. The father who they initially thought abandoned them was actually kept away and wanted to be a part of their lives. East Germany can be seen as the sickly mother while West Germany is represented by the absent father who in the end wanted to be reunified with his children even if they want nothing to do with him. While this symbolic interpretation makes some sense, the film can also be seen merely as a representation of what East Germans felt at the end of the GDR. They were nostalgic for something that was never as good as they imagined it to be, they felt betrayed and ripped off by the new developments in currency and consumer goods while also enjoying the fruits of the new economic paradigm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *