April 26, 2010

“Goodbye, Lenin”

My only class on Mondays (General Biotechnology) was cancelled for today because my professor had been away on a business meeting in the U.S. and due to the recent Iceland Volcanic Eruption and flight disruptions, she was not able to make it back in time for class. This class is also cancelled for tomorrow! Unfortunately, I’m not THAT lucky and I still have my Differential Equations and my VAST course tomorrow to attend.

This morning and early afternoon, I had some homework to catch up on. For my VAST course, we are starting the first part of our final paper assignment. We’re each supposed to pick an engineered system and evaluate/assess the sustainability of the system. After some quick online research, deciding between choosing a MacBook Laptop or Solar Power (very different topics), I chose to write my final research paper on Solar Power Systems. For Part I of the assignment, I wrote a 2-3 page proposal to my professor that describes the system and why it is an apporpriate choice for investigation. I also had to write a separate document of a 2-3 page memo establishing appropriate criteria with which to evaluate the engineered system. This is all due tomorrow.

I finished both my papers at around 4:30PM today. We had a scheduled film to watch as a class for my German Politics & Culture class, so I went straight to that upon completion of the written assignments. The film we were watching is called “Goodbye, Lenin.” It is a 2003 German tragic-comedy film directed by Wolfgang Becker. Most of the scenes were shot at theĀ Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin and around thePlattenbauten nearĀ Alexanderplatz. I had seen these places, before, when I visited Berlin, so it was exciting to see it on film.

The movie takes place in East Germany in the year of 1989 – just right before the Fall of the Berlin Wall. At the beginning, the film starts off about a woman of the name Christiane Kerner. In 1978, her husband runs off to freedom and another woman in the West of Germany, leaving her to take care of their two adolescent children, Ariane and Alex, by herself. Christiane has always been a good Socialist, and a loyal member of the Socialist Party in the East. She devotes her life to the cause in hopes of keeping distracted from heartache. In 1989, Christiane sees her now-grown son, Alex, marching in an anti-Berlin Wall demonstration and being hauled off by police. As a result, she suffers a heart attack on the streets and goes into a coma. While Christiane is in a coma, Germany drastically changes with the Wall coming down and the imminent official reunification of East and West Germany into one country. The Kerner’s personal life also changes with all aspects of the new-found capitalist world infiltrating their home. When Christiane emerges from her coma 8 months later, her health situation is still tenuous. Any shock she experiences could possibly lead to another heart attack and certain death. To protect his mother, Alex decides not to tell of the new Germany in which they live. He feels he can better protect her at home, where he can control what she is exposed to. Although many people around Alex don’t support the idea, including his sister, they go along with the extreme measures Alex goes to to recreate Socialist East Germany in their home. How long can they keep up with this game of charades? Watch the movie!

“Goodbye, Lenin”is a winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also a Golden Globe Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and the Winner of European Film Awards (including best picture, best director, and best screenplay).

It was a really good movie and after taking the German Politics & Culture class all semester, I was able to understand most of the historical context in the film. My professors were also there to enjoy the movie with us, and they generously ordered us pizza and some drinks for dinner. It was interesting to see the comparison between East & West Germany after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and it was funny hearing my professors giggle at some jokes during the movie. One of the professors was raised in West Germany and the other was raised in East Germany, so they constantly joke around with each other and share their contrasting views with us in class.

If you’re interested in watching a trailer of the movie, click HERE.

posted in Daisy Chen

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for introducing me to this movie! ~Patsy in Chicago

    says patsy
    April 27, 2010 at 6:06 pm
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