The Cold War was marked, at the European level, by the "Iron Curtain", which included the division of Germany into two halves: the capitalist West Germany and East Germany, in line with USSR. The division existed until the fall of the Berlin Wall and divided families, cultures, mentalities and ways of life. In this movie, a young man decides to pretend that East Germany still exists, months after reunification, to spare his mother, a fierce socialist who has just woken up from a coma.
We are facing a true masterpiece of cinema. It's one of those fun and clever movies we've seen once and we want to see it again as soon as it's over. However, its not exactly a comedy, or at least not in its entirety. The film has some drama and the story of that family, especially that mother, is truly harsh, difficult and paradigmatic of a changing world. That mother represents well the past, and the pains of those who lived under a dictatorship, with difficulties and bitterness to which she had to turn around, while her emancipated, independent, creative and irreverent children manage to embody the aspirations of a generation that is eager for change, tired of decades of forced immobility. Another thing that strikes the eye is the speed with which everything changes, the almost dramatic and rough way in which the GDR falls and becomes Westernized.
The cast is made up of illustrious strangers to me, who am not a connoisseur of German cinema, but I think they were up to the challenge and did very well with what they were asked to do. The director, Wolfgang Becker, has achieved here his greatest work as a filmmaker. On a technical level, I especially highlight the careful photography, good camera angles, the way the movie played with color, light and shadow, the clever way it used scraps of television news and original archive material. Nor can I fail to highlight the extraordinary original soundtrack, by Yann Tiersen, who had been notable, two years earlier, with "Amelie" soundtrack.
Fairly nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film (which he lost to an Afghan film), its hard to believe as it was not even nominated for the Oscar in the same category. Who can explain Hollywood, do it! But who needs prizes anyway? This film has achieved immortality for its merit and quality, while many of those who receive awards end up forgotten a few years later.
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