Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Truth Always Outs

Attention, Yet Another Film Review (two in fact): Goodbye Lenin (2003) and East of Bucharest (2006)



I saw with my father last night ‘Goodbye Lenin.’ If the term 'German Comedy' is not an oxymoron, I don't know what is. (I do know that some Bosch will object to my characterization though. A cute, sweet enough film, but the nostalgia for the former East Germany (which I can sort of understand) fell a little flat. The too often used voice over reminded me very much of that of Oskar the diminutive drummer in ‘The Tin Drum, a far better film. While the idea of having your mother missing the fall of the Berlin Wall as a result of a coma and convincing her that it was actually the 'Wessies' who were flooding into East Germany because they were tired of the ‘rat race’ was a clever enough conceit, but the film did not quite capture the horror of the state (for some at least). A much better, funnier film about the time, albeit in a different land, I thought was ‘East of Bucharest,’ a movie about a television talk show where people recount (and lie) as to where they were and what they were doing on December 23rd when the Securitate expelled and afterwards murdered Nicolae Ceau┼čescu, who knocked down central Bucharest to build a palace bigger than Versailles, and faked the revolution. What I particularly found fun was the absurd question that the Television host presented to his two guests, a drunken professor and a kindly old man: ‘Did our town have a Revolution or Not?’ Indeed, there was something very Ionesco about the film. Both films are worth watching, and both cover the same period, but I found the latter just that much better and that much more terrible.

Tonight, Das Boot: The Original Cut