New look at unification

By Stephanie Frustaci
Correspondent

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the reunification of East and West Germany, the International Film Series showed the 2003 film “Goodbye, Lenin” on Tuesday Oct. 5 in the Library Auditorium

Cynthia Paces, professor of history, Jon Stauff, director of the Center for Global Engagement and participants from the College- Goethe University of Frankfurt exchange program commented on the film. Some issues raised were the “fracture and reunion” of Germany. Paces posed questions for the audience to think about as they watched the film, such as “Is this an anti-East German film? How does it portray the West? How are East Germans portrayed?” Paces discussed the political, critical and comical aspects of the film.

The main action of “Goodbye, Lenin” takes place between 1989 and 1990, as the German Democratic Republic diminished and the Berlin Wall was torn down. The main character, Alexander Kerner, walks in a march to tear down the Berlin Wall as his mother has a heart attack and goes into a coma. She is in this state for eight months in which her hopes and dreams of a Socialistic Germany are demolished.

The Berlin Wall comes down and the borders are extinguished. When Alex’s mother finally wakes, Alex and his sister, Ariane, do everything in their power to prevent her from discovering that times have changed. Although, Alex supports the way things are currently in Germany, he still respects his mother’s perspective.

The focus of the movie was to depict Germany after its reunification and the cultural, social and political implications of the change.

When asked why this particular movie was chosen, Paces said, “I thought “Goodbye, Lenin” would appeal to students because it is about a young man their age, who is facing issues that all college-age students do — forming his own identity, while learning how to relate to his family as an adult.”

According to Paces, the film is one of many that “ reexamines the West and East German pasts — the difficult legacy of Communism, but also the downsides of Western capitalism.”

Freshman Damian Robles, a linguistics and translation self-designed major, said. “I am interested in different cultures. I learned more about German history and how there were two different views in a country.”