Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Midweek Movies

The Hoosier state--you know, the place where they have summer markets just like Baghdad's--has checked in again with a great addition to the lexicon of contemporary history: Ostalgie, or nostalgia for the Ost(East), or East Germany. The Ost of Germany has been gone lo these many years, but apparently people have begun to miss it. It was quite a phenomenon...

Two films about East Germany are worth seeing in the near future: one you can get at Blockbuster, or from me if you're around, called "Goodbye, Lenin." That's a comedy about a dedicated east German Communist who falls into a coma shortly before the end of East German Communism, then wakes up about ten years later. She's not to have any stress or upset in her life, so her children conspire to re-construct an east Germany inside her hospital and apartment. She eventually finds them out, but not before a lot of hilarious make-believe...if you need a laugh, that's a great one.

The other one, appropriately titled "The Lives of Others," tackles a more serious matter, the all-pervasive influence of the German secret police, the Stasi, in East German society. The Stasi was much more diligent than the KGB in Russia...when the files were made available to people after the fall of the Communist regime, quite a few people found out that their parents, their friends or even their spouses had been informing on them. Timothy Garton Ash wrote a book about his own Stasi dossier, called the File; now German filmmakers explore the influence of the Stasi for the first time. You can read about it here.

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