Set at the end of the Cold War in East Germany, the movie Goodbye Lenin is the story of a young man, Alex, trying to protect his mother, Christiane, who just spent the last eight months in a coma. Christiane is a personification of the values and ideology of socialism. She carries them out in her interactions with society, and is very hopeful towards the success of the regime. During her absence, the fall of the Berlin Wall and of the German Democratic Republic leads to a radical and turbulent change in society: the fall of socialism and the triumph of capitalism. Because of the shocking effect of such information and the danger of another heart attack, Alex creates for Christiane an ideological form of socialism. Fundamental themes in the movie are the difference between ideal and reality of socialism, as well as the positive and negative aspects of the transition to free market capitalism. Such themes are carried out through a juxtaposition of an ideal society and its reality in the form of a constructed reality of socialism. This idealized version of socialism served as an oasis from the chaotic transition from a problematic socialist regime to free market capitalism.
The Lives of Others and Goodbye, Lenin are two movies cleverly depicted about the fall of Communism. One director chooses to portray humor as the base of his movie, while the other chooses a more dark and serious tone. Both directors clearly want their viewers to understand the seriousness of what the fall of the Berlin Wall meant and the importance of Germany’s East West unionization for the citizens of the GSD. However, a hidden truth in both movies is revealed. Truth about a culture that once existed, but has since been swept under the carpet of change. The late 80s brought on the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying the end of the Stalinist regimes that had once held so much power. Outlined below are two movies that, while so different in their delivery, end with the same clear message.
On the whole, does Goodbye, Lenin paint a positive or negative picture of life in communist East Germany?
Does the movie paint a positive or negative picture of life in communist East Germany?
Virtual reality is the new reality. Everyday, millions of people turn on their televisions and computers to be sucked into an unreal world controlled by a simulated reality. Instead, people lose control of their minds, allowing the media and money to infiltrate their consciousness. This loss of control to technology is explored in the novel Homo Zapiens by Viktor Pelevin. The story follows Babylen Tatarsky, one of the many displaced citizens of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Originally a scholar at a literary institute, Tatarsky finds himself in the advertising industry as a copywriter attempting to cater Western products to the Russian people. In this process, it becomes apparent that the aim of Tatarsky and his advertising concepts is solely to bring in more money and increase the influence of certain companies without regard for morals and ethics. Even the consumers in the general population experience this absence of humanity as they become subject to the media; they enter a whole new world once the television or computer is turned on. Essentially, Pelevin uses the medium of the technology to create a virtual reality. Through this simulated world, he demonstrates the loss of conscious control of one’s mind and thoughts to the media and money.
“The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer is a pivotal article in history that changed the way in which many communications scholars viewed media. Both authors were members of the Frankfurt School, a school of thought which looked further into Karl Marx’s theories about capitalism and the issues of mass production. Published in 1944, Adorno and Horkheimer revealed their beliefs that the media, much like the economy, is becoming mass produced, and is therefore turning people in society into media-consuming robots. Industrialization created work lives for people in which they would work on only one part of a larger machine. As a result, they felt less involved in the completion of the project as a whole, and therefore felt less pride in their jobs and their lives in general. Instead, these people turned to media and pop culture so that they would feel more fulfillment within their lives. Adorno and Horkheimer believed that these people had a reduced capacity for original thought because media is now force feeding them the ideas of what they can think and feel. This essay will prove that although Adorno and Horkeimer’s points were justified through the eyes of authors George Lipsitz, Lev Manovich, and Susan J. Douglas, there are still exceptions to their theories that they do not account for.
Were it a testimony to the rigors and cruelness of human nature, it would be crushing. As it is, it shatters our perception of man and ourselves as no other book, besides perhaps Anne Franke`s diary and the testimony of Elie Wiesl, could ever have done. The prisoners of the labor camp, as in Shukhov?s predicament, were required to behave as Soviets or face severe punishment. In an almost satirical tone Buinovsky exclaims to the squadron that ?You?re not behaving like Soviet People,? and went on saying, ?You?re not behaving like communist.? (28) This type of internal monologue clearly persuades a tone of aggravation and sarcasm directly associated to the oppression?s of communism.
The Great Terror was one of the single greatest loss of lives in the history of the world. It was a crusade of political tyranny in the Soviet Union that transpired during the late 1930’s. The Terrors implicated a wide spread cleansing of the Communist Party and government officials, control of peasants and the Red Army headship, extensive police over watch, suspicion of saboteurs, counter-revolutionaries, and illogical slayings. Opportunely, some good did come from the terrors nonetheless. Two of those goods being Sofia Petrovna and Requiem. Both works allow history to peer back into the Stalin Era and bear witness to the travesties that came with it. Through the use of fictional story telling and thematic devises Sofia Petrovna and Requiem, respectively, paint a grim yet descriptive picture in a very efficient manner.
In Jean-Louis Comolli and Jean Narboni’s essay “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism,” they put forward the central argument that film is a commercial product in the capitalist system and therefore also the unconscious instrument of the dominant ideology which produces it. In opposition to the classic film theory that applauds camera as an impartial device to reproduce reality, they argue that what the camera reproduces is merely a refraction of the prevailing ideology. Therefore, the primary and political task for filmmakers is to disrupt this replication of the world as self-evident and the function of film criticism is to identify and evaluate that politics. Comolli and Narboni then suggest seven categories of films confronting ideology in different ways, among which the second category resists the prevailing ideology on two levels. Films of this group not only overtly deal with political contents in order to “attack their ideological assimilation” (Comolli and Narboni 483), but also achieve their goal through breaking down the conventional way of depicting reality.
Taking place in East Germany, 1989, the movie is about a family consisting of a mother, son, and daughter. The mother, Christiane, is a strong socialist and a party member of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Christiane was dramatically shaken, but it only increased her passion for the GDR. One day, she witnesses her son, Alex, protesting in an anti-Berlin Wall demonstration and being apprehended by the police. Christiane suffers a heart attack from the sight and goes into a coma for 8 months. During that time period, much has changed, including the fall of the Berlin wall, the GDR being dissolved, and the reunification of West and East Germany. With the fall of the Berlin wall, socialism in on the decline and capitalism begins to
The Russian Revolution is a widely studied and seemingly well understood time in modern, European history, boasting a vast wealth of texts and information from those of the likes of Robert Service, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Allan Bullock, Robert Conquest and Jonathan Reed, to name a few, but none is so widely sourced and so heavily relied upon than that of the account of Leon Trotsky, his book “History of the Russian Revolution” a somewhat firsthand account of the events leading up to the formation of the Soviet Union. There is no doubt that Trotsky’s book, among others, has played a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of the events of The Revolution; but have his personal predilections altered how he portrayed such paramount
To begin with, this book educated the reader about the past. Everyone in the Soviet Union looked up to the leader, Stalin, even though he wasn’t a good leader at all. He caused many problems for the citizens including uncomfortable living conditions. This book educates the reader by showing that back then even when people were treated badly, they still had to look up to their leader even though he was the cause of all
Historians constantly discuss the establishment of communism in Eastern Europe following World War II, a major topic being the Soviet Union’s occupation of The German Democratic Republic (GDR). The governing of the GDR by the Socialist Unity Party (SED) is frequently analysed, particularly operations against any perceived resistance to the stability of a socialist state. Erica Riemann was one perceived enemy, serving over eight years as a political prisoner after drawing a bow on a picture of Josef Stalin when she was fourteen, and she provides oral testimony of her experiences nearly fifty years later (Molloy 2009). This essay argues that the main value of Riemann’s testimony is an insight into the lengths that the SED went to in order to
Soviet Montage is a movement driven by “Marxist [politics]” and an “economic philosophy” developed in Soviet Russia at the time of revolution. Lenin himself considered film, as an art form as the “most influential of all arts” as it not only entertained but could be used to “[mould] and reinforce values.”( Mast, G. & Kawin, B. F.) Sergei Eisenstein, himself a Marxist, is no exception to this and not only are his films are full of political propaganda, but he is also considered “the greatest master of montage.” .”( Mast, G. & Kawin, B. F.) His film October, called Ten Days That Shook The World in the Western world at the time and butchered due to its content, has always been considered problematic for audiences and critics alike and the standard critique of the film soon became “The Film as a whole is difficult and incoherent.” (Sperbur) Although if analysed properly, you can see that it has powerful political and social messages to convey and comprises of film form that Eisenstein himself called “intellectual film.”
From Stalin’s Cult of Personality to Khrushchev’s period of De-Stalinization, the nation of the Soviet Union was in endless disarray of what to regard as true in the sense of a socialist direction. The short story, This is Moscow Speaking, written by Yuli Daniel (Nikolai Arzhak) represents the ideology that the citizens of the USSR were constantly living in fear of the alternations of their nation’s political policies. Even more, the novella gives an explanation for the people’s desire to conform to the principles around them.