It took a while for this film to take a hold of me. It seemed to start off slowly, but then built up to a rousing story of the collapse of the State of the DDR (East Germany) and how these very same forces drive apart one family in particular. Of course this family is representative of East Germany as a whole and are entirely fictional, but this does not detract from the fact that the film is based on actual events or that on the whole that it is very believable and compelling. I found the climax very emotional, the deployment of troops to stop any protesters and how they were almost ready for civil war, until the authorities finally shirked from a bloodbath that would ensue in trying to use force to stop over 70 000 protesters. In the film we hear the lies of the East German state and see the reality. We see a state held only together by informers and how finally the authorities are helpless to stop popular change in what became a bloodless revolution that united Germany. One of the lines I remember from the film is, "wir nehmen nur die Staerksten" (we only take the strongest), as the brother tries to convince his sister to join the Stasi. Here, in East Germany, loyalty had become to mean strength. Loyalty was an essential attribute for a citizen, for on it depended the state. But there was very little loyalty for the state, it was held together by lies and fear. So it rightly collapsed.
In the end a pretty good film, especially for students of German and modern German history.
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