The Null Device

Goodbye Lenin!

Last night I went to see Goodbye Lenin!, the German comedy about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, at the Cinema Nova; I really enjoyed it. It was intelligent and very funny, and managed to also be a very human film without drowning the audiences in Hollywood-style schmaltz. The way they used small details (like styles of clothing and furniture and drab, Communist-era consumer products) to highlight the differences between East and West was interesting. And the score by Yann Tiersen (who did Amélie) was also quite evocative.

Some have accused this film of being too soft on the Communist régime. It does have some scenes of Communist military police suppressing a demonstration (though, looking at the scenes, they don't seem any more brutal or totalitarian than, say, the S11 demonstrations in 2000, or the US "Miami model"). In my opinion, these complaints are unfounded. The film does not paint the old East as a lost utopia; there are allusions throughout it of the totalitarian nature of the DDR. The reason it doesn't beat the viewer about the head with gulags and Stasi torture chambers is because it's not that kind of film.

All in all, I enjoyed it much more than Lost In Translation. The main difference is that the latter seemed to belong to the Andy-Warhol-filming-someone-sleeping-for-6-hours school of arthouse cinema, where films are deliberately tedious to give discerning audience members a chance to differentiate themselves from the excitement-hungry multiplex-going masses, whereas the makers of Goodbye Lenin! actually set out to be entertaining, and did so without dumbing it down for the broadest possible audience.

There are 1 comments on "Goodbye Lenin!":

Posted by: dj Thu Jan 15 02:35:19 2004

I reckon i will get around to seeing it this weekend some time. That's if i'm not spending my whole weekend still trying to figure out how to get my new camera to talk to my computer.