IN BERLIN, THE CRAZED CITY WHERE WEST CONFRONTS EAST, A SON WILL DO ANYTHING TO PROTECT HIS MOTHER.
Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a devoted East German Socialist (Katrin Sass) awakes from a coma; in order to prevent a life-threatening shock, her son (Daniel Brühl) does everything to make her believe that the DDR is intact. There are still people in eastern Germany who long for the “good” old days before reunification, or simply get a kick out of DDR kitsch, and this film cleverly takes advantage of that. The script borrows a formula that can easily be labeled “high concept”, which inevitably leads to predictable moments. Still, it’s a film that starts out funny and fast and successfully segues into something more earnest.
2003-Germany-France. 119 min. Color. Produced by Stefan Arndt, Katja De Bock, Andreas Schreitmüller. Directed by Wolfgang Becker. Screenplay: Bernd Lichtenberg. Cast: Daniel Brühl (Alexander Kerner), Katrin Sass (Christiane Kerner), Chulpan Khamatova (Lara), Maria Simon, Florian Lukas, Alexander Beyer.
European Film Awards: Best Film, Actor (Brühl), Screenwriter.
Last word: “The scriptwriter [Bernd Lichtenberg] and I met young people who were about the age of our hero when the Wall came down, and asked them a few questions. We found out very fast that there is not a prototype biography in the GDR [German Democratic Republic]. Some people felt like they were in a big prison, other people were OK with the situation, some people suffered a lot under the political circumstances, other people didn’t care about politics. After that we felt pretty much free about making up our own characters.” (Becker, BBC Films)