This marks the third go around for Good Bye, Lenin on the local film society circuit, and I freely confess that it’s a film I’m written out on, so here’s an excerpt from the original 2004 review:
If this were a Hollywood product, the idea would be called “high concept”: During the last days of East Berlin’s communist regime, supposedly loyal party member Christiane (Katrin Sass) suffers a heart attack while witnessing the police beat up protestors, and she falls into a coma. While she’s in this state, communism falls and the reunified Germany becomes a hotbed of Western consumerism — largely signified by the influx of Coca-Cola (Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three from 1961 was pretty on-target) and fast food. When Christiane finally awakens, the doctor tells her son, Alex (Daniel Bruhl), and daughter, Arianne (Maria Simon), that the least shock could bring on a second heart attack and kill her. Thus Alex decides that they will have to make his mother think that the German Democratic Republic still stands and that nothing has changed. Since she never leaves her room, this shouldn’t be too hard, right? Wrong. It’s easy enough to duplicate her old bedroom, but problems arise from there. Where does one obtain the state-produced brands of groceries Christiane expects to find? What does one do about the news once she wants to watch TV? And what will happen if she ever wanders outside? These and a myriad of other similar problems are constantly cropping up, and the solutions that Becker’s script provides for them are sometimes clever, sometimes insane and yet always believable within the confines of the story.
Full review here
Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Good Bye, Lenin! Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com