Saturday, April 08, 2006

Geography and Film: Goodbye Lenin!

**********Spoiler Warning**********

Goodbye Lenin! is a German film which depicts the last days of East Berlin and the process of reunification.

Movie Review
A son tries to convince his ailing mother that her beloved East Germany still exists even though it went defunct while she was in a coma. The movie is a well done combination of comedy and drama. I greatly enjoyed the powerful acting and the sense of triumph and tragedy of each turn of events.

Geographic Review
There are tons of things geographers can analysis in this film. First off is economics. Soon after the Wall comes down a wide range of goods reaches East Berlin. The main character goes to the supermarket and sees all the different types of foods when he was use to one brand for one product. Signs for Coca-Cola replace red banners. Finally, the sister of the protagonist gets a job at an icon of capitalism, Burger King.

Another thing illustrated well is housing. Many people left East Berlin trying to sneak into the West. When the Wall came down there was a lot of cheap housing available which was taken by West Germans. One of the characters remarks on the amount of "people from the West" living in the apartment building.

A strong point in the latter part of the film is the depiction of ill will towards West Germans. The protagonist remarks how he is from "another country" to West Berlin kids, says "Westies" are arrogant, and attempts to give East Germany the "send off it diverse." Eastern Germany has been the black sheep of Europe for a while and the move does a good job showing some of the problems. (Hat tip: TDAXP's old review of the film)

Category: Geography in Movies

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