Good Bye Lenin! (2003) Script

Our Weekend Cabin, Summer '78 Look over here, into the camera.

Hands off!

Alex, hold on tight! Papa, help me!


Slowly and carefully...

...the giant colossus...

...is placed on the launching pad.

The product of a great joint endeavor will be put to the test here.

The principle "quality supplied by all to all"...

That's him!

...can be seen perfectly here.

I am ready to embark on the flight of the spaceship, SOJUS 31...

...as a member of the international crew.

On August 26, 1978, we were world-class.

East German citizen Sigmund Jahn was the first German in space.

On that day, things in our family started going seriously downhill.

This is your husband's third trip to a capitalist country.

He's standing in for his boss, Professor Klinger.

Does your husband have contacts in the West?

No.

Mrs. Kerner, how would you describe the state of your marriage?

Did your husband discuss fleeing the country?

Mrs. Kerner.

Did he discuss it with you?

Please allow me to express my sincerest gratitude...

...to the central committee of the Communist Party...

Get out! Leave me alone!

While Sigmund Jahn was intrepidly representing our country in space...

...my father was getting his brains fucked out...

...by his new "enemy of the state" girlfriend.

He never came back.

My mother was so depressed that she stopped talking.

She just didn't speak.

Not to us, nor to anyone.

Please, Mama, come back.

It's so boring at Mrs. Schafer's.

Mama, I love you!

The Sandman has adapted very well to conditions in space.

But the biggest surprise for us...

...was that he has become good friends with Mascha.

We've even had a cosmic wedding. In just a few minutes...

...The Sandman and Mascha return to Earth.

Dear children, I hope that you all have an opportunity to see this at home.

After eight weeks, Mother came home. She was back to normal.

Surprise! My darlings!

My Alex...

...my little cosmonaut.

SOLIDARITY WITH MOZAMBIQUE

Pioneer Camp, Spring '79 We never mentioned Father again.

From then on, our mother was married to our socialist fatherland.

Our country Is not just cities and villages Since the relationship was not sexual, she had a lot of energy for us kids...

...and for the realities of life under socialism.

The grass on the meadow The crops in the field And the birds in the sky And the animals My mother became an activist for social progress...

...a passionate crusader for the concerns of common people...

...and against those tiny injustices of life.

In the matter of garishly colored...

...maternity wear.

Now for our report on the award ceremony...

It's coming up now.

Factory and office workers, scientists and collective farm workers...

...artists and retirees arrived in Berlin today...

...to receive our country's highest awards.

That's you, Mama! Gold award...

...in recognition of extraordinary contributions...

...to our socialist society.

On the eve of the national holiday, the party's central committee...

...traditionally honors exceptional citizens.

After long hours of training, the day had finally come.

I, Alex Kerner, would be the second German to venture into space...

...farther than anyone before.

Takeoff!

I imagined how I'd explore the secrets of space for the benefit of mankind...

...how I'd look down on our planet and wave proudly at my mother.

Stand by for liftoff!

10 years later - October 7, 1989

People are at the core of socialist society East Germany turned 40.

I had the day off from my job at a TV-repair firm...

...and felt that I was at the height of my masculine allure.

40 YEARS GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

Change was in the air...

...while the members of the world's last great shooting club...

...paraded outside our house.


There's a girl here for you. Shall I send her away?

What girl? No idea. Seems nice, though.

Did you sleep in your clothes again?

Where's my visitor?

Your visitor's name is Paula. She's your date, as agreed.

Oh, no. Oh, yes, little brother.

Can't your ex mind her? Her father is on call today.

"... these products. Women of a certain age... "

Cannot and do not wish to wear the kind of underpants you sell.

The population of the GDR does not consist of young ice princesses...

...and exquisitely slim comrades. That's good.

Still here? It's started already.

As we can hear. You better hurry.

May be the last time with the old gang. Where's Paula?

Is she asleep?

I might see your mother on TV today.

From the Palace of the Republic?

Invitation With a magnifying glass.

I'm not even sure I'm going. All the party bigwigs will be there.

I won't know a soul.

But I wouldn't mind seeing Gorbachev close up.

Look at them, celebrating themselves, the old farts.

You don't have to watch.

Can't you see what's going on? What do you want to do? Emigrate?

Nothing will change if everyone emigrates.

Continue with:

It simply won't do...

...for our sturdier female workers and farmers...

...to be punished in this way by our fashion combines...

...in this 40th year of our republic. With socialist greetings...

Hanna Schafer.

On the evening of October 7, 1989...

...several hundred people got together for some evening exercise...

...and marched for the right to go for walks...

...without the Wall getting in their way.

Freedom of the press! Freedom of the press! Freedom of the press!


Cough it out!

Are you okay?

You okay? Thank you.

Even more cops over there.

All right, all right.

If you take the subway, you might still make it.

What's your name?


Stop it!

Watch it!

That's my mother! Don't move!

That's my mother!

Let me go, you asshole! My mother's lying on...


Alexander Kerner? Yes?

Your mother.


What's wrong with Mother?

What is it?

She had a heart attack.

CPR was performed rather late. She's in a coma.

When can I talk to her? Alex, Mama is in a coma!

We don't know if she'll ever wake up again.


Can you hear me, Mama?

You have to wake up.

But Mother kept on sleeping.

In her long, deep sleep...

...she orbited like a satellite around our small planet...

...and our even smaller republic.

The 9th congress has granted Erich Honecker's request...

...to resign for health reasons...

...and thanked him for his contributions to politics.

Her sleep kept her in the dark...

...during the resignation of Comrade Honecker...

...secretary general of the party...

...and chairman of the state council of the German Democratic Republic.

Berlin: Tonight the Wall came down.

Unity and right and freedom For the German fatherland...

She slept through a classical concert in front of West Berlin's city hall...

...and through the start of a huge and unique recycling campaign.

Open the gate! Open the gate!

Stasi out! Stasi out!

Mother kept on sleeping.

She missed my first outing to the West and certain comrades'...

...unflagging efforts to protect us, the workers and farmers.

She also missed my first cultural discoveries in a new country.

Excuse me.

Her condition prevented her from voting in the first free elections.

She slept while Ariane quit studying economic theory...

Thanks for choosing Burger King.

...and gained her first practical experience with monetary circulation.

She was spared watching Ariane's new lover move in...

...Rainer, class enemy and greasy spoon manager.

WORKER OF THE MONTH ARIANE and RAINER The bedroom furniture goes down to the cellar.

She missed the slow but steady westernization of our tiny flat.

The old stuff marked with red dots goes on the street for junk collection.

She missed Rainer's enthusiasm for the ways and tradition of the orient.

Sorry.

Not even my hormonal rapture at the sight...

...of certain shapely legs could penetrate her twilight.

Shit.

What are you doing? Nothing. The drip...

In her dark dreams, she also missed the arrival of Lara...

...the angelic student nurse from the Soviet Union.

You again. Hello.

I was worried about you.

They arrested me.

Mother slept through the triumph of capitalism...

Change the guard!

...and my carefully coordinated visits to the hospital.


You know what I've noticed?

When she's in a good mood, she wears her hair down.

In a bad mood, she wears it up.

She bites her nails during the doctors' rounds.

Doesn't she have a lovely smile?

In her sleep she didn't see how our working-class heroes lost their jobs.

The TV-repair shop where I worked was shut down.

I was the last one out. I turned off the light.

Then things began to look up. As part of a capable East-West team...

...I became a practitioner of the reunification...

...cheering up the landscape with satellite dishes.

Denis Domaschke. Domaschke. Denis Domaschke.

Alexander Kerner. Here.

Get over here, don't be shy. Hello.

Be good, ladies.

Hello. Hello.

Knut Vogel.

Hello, Mama. Dr. Wagner told us to talk to you.

Since I can't come in person, I thought this might work.

It's 5 p. m.

Most doctors will be gone, and you'll finally have some peace.

Nurse Lara, who just gave you a bath, will be gone too.

If you could see her, I'm sure you'd wake up.

Ariane says hello. She thinks the tape is a stupid idea, but you know her.

She's with Paula, who's teething and cries a lot.

Mother slept through my unstoppable progress with Lara.

After four early and 35 late shifts...

...we finally had our first romantic rendezvous.


It's very loud here!

Our Russian teacher was from Minsk and weighed a ton.

And that's all you know about Russian women.

The winds of change blew on the ruins of our republic.

Summer came, and Berlin was the most beautiful place on Earth.

We were at the center of the world, where things were finally happening.

And we went with the flow.

Too bad she's missing all this.

Maybe it's better this way.

Everything she believed in vanished in just a few months.

What about your father?

He was a doctor.

He escaped to the West.

We never heard from him again.


The future lay in our hands. Uncertain, yet promising.

Hello, XTV, we just want to...

Hello. Hello.

Interested in satellite TV?

No money?

Hello.

Hi, you like soccer? We have the thing for you.

Hello. Hello, XTV.

We're from XTV. Interested in a satellite dish?

You have Vietnam One and Two, and a Vietnamese sports channel.

I see.

To the soccer championships.

To the future. To us...

...comrade.

SO 36 FILM presents FAMILY MOMENTS WEDDING Right now it's just a side job.

BAPTISM Someday I'm going to do real feature films.

...and more!

SO 36 FILM Denis Domaschke Under the same label, of course.

Let me show you something.

This is what I'm working on. Watch.

Don't look yet.

Wait, don't look.

Just a moment. Now.

Did you catch that?

Now.

That's the famous cut from 2001, with the bone.

The cake is the spaceship.

Did you see it? Yeah.

Brilliant.

Brilliant.

By early June 1990, the East German borders were meaningless.

And still, Mother slept.

I, for my part, inspired by the old communist saying:

"We solve problems by marching ahead, " took the initiative.


Mama?

Mama?

Can you hear me?

That she woke up is a miracle, but she might not be the same as she was.

What do you mean?

Some patients don't even recognize their own kids. Amnesia.

Memory loss.

Sorry.

She could be confused, or mix up long and short-term memory.

Sensory disturbances, delayed reactions. We don't know...

...how badly the brain was damaged. The list of potential problems is long.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but your mother's life is still in danger.

I can't give you much hope she'll survive the next weeks.

Well...

Can we take her home?

Absolutely not.

It's better for her to stay here. And easier for you too.

She wouldn't survive a second heart attack.

You must protect her from any kind of excitement.

And I do mean any kind, Mr. Kerner. Any kind of excitement.

It would be life-threatening.

And this here?

GOOD LUCK, GERMANY YES TO REUNIFICATION Wouldn't you call this exciting?

My mother doesn't know the Wall fell.

Here she'll find out in no time.

Your granddaughter.

What happened?

You collapsed. Eight months ago.

Eight months ago?

I can't remember anything.

That's normal. It'll come back.

You just have to be patient. And what happened?

That was... It was in October.

I think you were going shopping.

You were shopping, there was a long queue, and it was so hot.

You just collapsed.

In October?

It was an unusually hot October.

And then?

You were in a coma.

I want to go home.

I promise, you will.

We'll celebrate your birthday, like every year.

Alex, this is totally crazy!

We can't leave her there. We promised.

She's very sick! They can take better care of her here!

They're equipped for it. Damn it, be realistic, for once!

You be realistic! Lmagine what will happen once she has to share a room.

Or if someone lets something slip! Here, she'll find out in no time!

She'd never survive that.

All this stuff has to go.

Are the old curtains in the cellar? You can't be serious.

Shit, you drilled them into the wall.

Well, just great! We'll just have to plaster them up.

Can you tell me what's going on?

Can't you guess? Guess what?

What's he supposed to guess? You have to move out.

Or shall we put her in the cellar? I paid rent the last five months!

How generous! For the whole apartment!

Yeah, 47 marks. In the West, that wouldn't even cover the phone bill!

Here, you wait 10 years for a phone! You can't just...

The room has to be just like it was!

The doctor said she has to stay in bed, right?

So it's just about this one room. When she's better, we'll see.

You didn't get what the doctor said! She probably...

You said that when you wanted to pull the plug on her.

That was a different situation. You can't compare it!

What are you going to tell her? That you quit college to sell burgers?

"Thanks for choosing Burger King. "

Eighth floor? Yep.

Elevator? Broken.

Shit. You can say that again.


My life was totally different...

...and the day we were going to take Mother home...

...approached as relentlessly as a massive Russian tank.

How dare you go through my wardrobe.

Not your wardrobe, charity shop. Besides, what's that you're wearing?

Try to make an effort.

Look at the crap we used to wear.

Sign here.

The physiotherapist comes three times a week. Any questions?

She's going home on her own responsibility.

You know what I think of this.

Where's the other doctor?

Dr. Wagner moved to Dusseldorf. I see.

And you? When are you taking off?

You were telling me about responsibility.

Please, lie down for a minute.

Why? Please, lie down for a minute.

If she has another heart attack, a few short, forceful blows to the chest.

Careful, she mustn't wake up. Okay, boss.

Ariane and I will work out a schedule. And there's the physiotherapist too.

One of us will always be around. We'll manage.

Most East Germans have already exchanged their money into DMs.

The deadline is in two weeks, so you need to hurry.

As Gorbachev said: Excuse me!

"Life punishes those... " "Who come too late! "

I'm sick of it. Excuse me.

Can you turn it down? She needs quiet.

Okay, boss.

Aren't you going to introduce us?

Of course. This is Lara.

Hello, Lara.

Excuse me.

Hello, Christiane.

Alex, what's going on?

Hello, Alex?

Nothing's changed at all here.

What should have changed?

If you're bored, you can listen to tapes.

The radio isn't working...

...but I'll take care of that. Alex?

It's nice to know I'm not alone.

When your father...

When he left suddenly...

...I didn't think I would survive.

I never told you...

...but I thought about killing myself.

But you visited me every day.

You told me about school and about the cosmonaut, Sigmund Jahn.

You understood?

I'm sorry to be so much trouble.

Can't even go to the bathroom alone. Mama, don't worry about it.

The main thing is for you to get better.

I'll do my best.

You should rest now.

I'm going shopping, but Ariane's here.

Alex.

I'm dying for Spreewald pickles. Can you get me some?

No problem.

At least, that's what I thought.

By July 1990, the stores of our socialist fatherland were emptied.

And real money flowed in from the land behind the Wall.

While most of our fellow citizens lined up in front of banks...

...with their usual patience...

...we looked feverishly for Mother's bankbook.

Our little society was flooded with West German marks.

Hallelujah, hallelujah Hallelujah for the mark!

The exchange rate was two to one. And Germany won, 1 to 0.

Mocca Fix? We don't have that anymore.

Fillinchen Crisp Bread? Not in stock anymore.

Spreewald pickles? Boy, where have you been hiding?

We have Western money now...

...and you want Mocca Fix and Fillinchen?

Overnight, our drab corner store had turned into...

...a gaudy consumer paradise.

And I, as customer, was king.

They're from Holland.

Hello, Mr. Ganske.

So they've driven us to this...

...rooting around in the garbage.

Mr. Ganske? Do you happen to have any Spreewald pickles?

What? Spreewald pickles!

Sorry, young man. I'm unemployed myself!

An empty jar would do.


I wanted to introduce Rainer to Mama today.

Later. Let's not overwhelm her.

Maybe you're right.

They were out of Spreewald pickles.

Unfortunately. Doesn't matter.

These are good too.

Children, you don't have to take care of me constantly.

It makes me uncomfortable. Oh, Mama.

No, really.

Maybe you could put the TV in here. Then I'll be fine alone.

TV's still too tiring for you. Why shouldn't I watch TV?

We'll ask the doctor.

Mama, we need to talk to you.

You see, it's like this...

We wanted to ask you...

We need power of attorney for your account.

What's wrong?

Do you need money? No.

It's just... You can't go to the bank yourself.

So it would be better...

...if you sign this.

And right away would be best.

Can't that wait?

You're keeping something from me.

What happened? Are you in debt? It's important that you trust us.

Before I sign everything over to you, I have the right to know why, don't I?

All right.

It was supposed to be a surprise, but...

A letter arrived.

From the auto manufacturers.

The Trabant is ready. After only three years waiting?

That's why we need the money you put aside.

You don't really believe that I keep my money in the bank?

I hid it.

And where? Where?

I've forgotten.

Completely forgotten. Think, Mama.

Father's late today, don't you think?


Mama.

Don't worry.

You'll be better soon.

Your birthday is coming up, and we'll celebrate. Just like every year.

With all the neighbors. We've always celebrated your birthday.

Comrade Ganske watches West German TV?

Ganske is in love...

...with a retired lady from Munich. He met her on vacation in Hungary.

His party loyalty has suffered a bit. Oh.

Yeah.

Have you finished?

Sorry, I'm late again. It's right up there.

It even has a balcony.

Since some people never returned from vacation in Hungary...

...it had become easier to find apartments in the capital.

Everywhere, abandoned apartments, just waiting for us to occupy them.

The guy moved to the West last year. A colleague told me about it.


Wow! Wow!

It's working! Tempo Beans!

And Globus green peas!

I don't believe it! Mocca Fix Gold!

I've been looking everywhere for this!

Can I have these?


I've got to go.

Go back to sleep.


Morning, Mama.

Morning, Alex.

Are you in a hurry? I have to go to work.

Remember the TV, would you? Let's talk about that later.

About my birthday...

...you need to invite Klapprath and maybe some of my students.

As if the pickles weren't enough, now she wants to watch TV.

What am I supposed to do? Yeah. "Houston, we have a problem. "

And now? I thought you might have an idea.

No. I meant the TV reception.

I see.

Now? Nope.

It didn't exactly last very long. It's the semifinals.

I'm going to watch at Pollnick's. Go ahead!

The fans are in a great mood. Excuse me?

Are those Spreewald pickles? Nope. They're from Holland.

Show her old stuff. What?

Old East German programs on video. Last year's news? She'd notice.

I doubt it. It was always the same old crap.

Where would I get the videos? I don't even have a VCR.

Well, about time.

And how's it going?

Franz Beckenbauer and Rudi Voller. They can't bear to watch!

Germany is in the finals!

Germany 5 England 4 As the world clock at Alexanderplatz raced toward Mother's birthday...

...soccer helped unite our still-divided society...

...and helped bring back together what belonged together.

Meanwhile, I valiantly did everything in my power to resurrect...

...a full-scale East Germany in Mother's room before that day.

Have the crosswords been done?

As untouched as a virgin.

Great. I'll take them all.

And that too.

Now my daughter's lost her job too.

Thank you and goodbye. Oh, dear.

And we worked 40 years for this. It's disgraceful.

They're scrapping the TV ballet too. All you do is watch TV, huh?

Getting back to my mother...

The problem is she doesn't realize the Wall fell.

Lucky her.

It's her birthday next week. She'd like to invite you.

Are you sure you understand?

And don't slip up.

What about the 20 marks? First do your job.

The first guests had been invited. Others still needed convincing...

...because many of my mother's former fellow teachers had suddenly retired.

Like Dr. Klapprath, former principal and highly respected teacher.

We were all valuable people.

Right, Alex?

I admired your mother.

She was an excellent teacher...

...and a wonderful human being.

Which is why she was demoted.

Some comrades in the collective thought she was too...

...idealistic.

Since your father left...

With all due respect for her idealism...

...but in the daily running of a school, that can be problematic.

So you just got rid of her.

You owe her something.

You're a dispatcher. Remember that.

In the East, you mean? Of course, in the East.

You're a buyer for a Mitropa restaurant.

Write down: You attended the Yuri Gagarin School.

And you were a group leader with the Young Pioneers.

Group what? Group leader.

I refuse! I won't make my baby wear plastic diapers.

That's asking too much!

Hey.

Got it? Group leader...

Here, 30 editions of Current Camera News...

...10 editions of Black Channel, six of that variety program...

...and four of Everyday Life in the West. All recorded.

Thanks to the state archives and your charming Denis.

I hope it works.

What are you doing on the floor?

Hooking up the TV aerial so you can watch TV.

Thank God for the world soccer championships.

Now is the time to supply East Germany with satellite dishes.

Okay, got it? Let's go to phase three.

What was that? No idea. Interference.

It happens.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Current Camera.

Serious provocation at the border today.

GDR protest against the federal government.

East Germany, microchip superpower. According to the foreign press...

The world is moving on, and I feel so useless.

Can't you stick a note on the bulletin board downstairs?

People with problems could come to me.

I can write petitions from bed.

Oh, I don't know.

You shouldn't work too hard.

Morning, Alex. Time to go already?

Sip? You want some?

Holy shit.

Shit, isn't it?

Shit! Goddamn it, shit!

I feel nauseous.

While many noisily celebrated the expected future soccer victory...

...Mother's bedroom resounded with the melody of yesterday.


That was beautiful. Thank you, children.

I taught you that, didn't I?

Dear Christiane.

We're gathered here today because it's your birthday.

In the name of the party leaders...

...I'd like to wish you all the best for your birthday...

...and this basket...

...is for you.

That's very sweet of you all. Thank you.

Oh, my, Mr. Klapprath. Rosenthaler Kadarka.

Mocca Fix Gold, Globus green peas. Yeah.

Your colleagues and the comrades...

...at the Werner Seelenbinder School...

...want to express their gratitude for all the years that you...

...were to them...

...an exemplary colleague...

...and dear comrade...

Well, in any case, I wish you all the best for your birthday.

Stay just as you are!

My dear Comrade Kerner...

...I'd like to wish you all the best...

...and good health...

...and that some day things will be like they used to be.

Lara, come here.

This is Lara.

She's a student nurse from the USSR.

Her father is a teacher for the deaf.

Don't marry him too young. Mama.

Even if that makes it easier to get an apartment.

My son Alex can be stubborn as a mule.

And Rainer...

...he's my Ariane's new boyfriend.

He works as a...

Dispatcher. Right, I'm a dispatcher.

I used to be with the...

Good luck to you, Pioneers.

I used to be with the Free German Pioneers.

Thanks, Rainer.

As a group, regional...

...group leader, way back. Thank you.

Always prepared? Thank you, Rainer!

Well, Mama.

Another year has passed, and what has changed?

Not much, actually.

Paula's got teeth and a new daddy.

And I, well...

Too bad we're not at Cafe Moscow, but at least we're together.

That's what's important.

We can be difficult sometimes, but you're always there for us.

I, for one, can't imagine a better family than ours.

And I want to thank you for that.

You're the best mother in the world.

Alex? And we all love you.

Alex? What is it?

What's that?

That is... What on Earth...?

I don't know what the comrades were thinking.

That's from the West. You can see the reflection.

I'm sure there's a reason for it. Don't get upset, Mama, please.

There's an explanation for everything.

Boys, can you sing another song?

Lara? Wait a second! Lara?

How about "Progress, Progress"?

Progress, progress Progress, progress What's going on?

Progress Toward a better future We build this country I feel sorry for your mother.

It's just too creepy, what you're doing to her.

And that nonsense about my dad being a teacher?

You know he was just a cook.

But it made her happy. Was I supposed to tell her he's dead?

In her condition?

To a long life.

What difference does it make, once the lies have started?

Long may she live Long may she live Lara!

Long may she live Long may she live Three times to you To you!

Can you move back a little?

A little more.

Can't you watch it? We're filming. Can I see your permit?

Weren't you informed?

Me? By whom? What was the guy's name again?

Something with M. Something with B.

Until I find out, you're not filming anything.

Is the logo in the picture? Yep.

Am I in focus?

Let's wait for better light. Come on, he'll be right back.

Just wait. Evening sun is much better.

As I stared at the clouds that day, I realized that...

...truth was a rather dubious concept...

...easily adapted to how Mother saw the world.

All I had to do was study the language of Current Camera News...

...and feed Denis' ambition to be a film director.

Today Gunter Mittag...

...the party central committee's economics minister...

...visited Coca-Cola's offices in West Berlin...

...to negotiate details of an agreement between Coca-Cola Corporation...

...and the people-owned drinks factory in Leipzig.

West Berlin authorities tried to prevent our team from filming.

Capitalist press censors desperately seek to hide...

...the mighty Coca-Cola Corporation's humiliating defeat in patent litigation...

...with our factory in Leipzig.

Would you please stop disrupting the work of GDR Television!

I'm calling the police!

At last, an international panel of scientific experts confirmed...

...that the original recipe for Coca-Cola was actually developed...

...in East German laboratories in the 1950s.

Back to the studio. Coca-Cola is a socialist invention?

Drug-related deaths in West Germany increase...

I thought cola existed before the war. Don't you get it?

The West has been cheating us for years.

593 victims by the end of August, 60 percent more than last year.

Now I remember.

The number of drug addicts has risen...

What? Where I hid the money.

I hid it in the living room chest...

...left-hand drawer under the waxed paper.

The old stuff with red dots goes on the street for junk collection.

How could I forget that?

Hey, here I am.

Oh, hi.

So?

Did she buy it? Yes, of course.

Really? She really believed it?

I'm telling you she did.

They've driven us to this. Evening, Mr. Ganske.

They sold us down the river.

She didn't notice it was out of focus? No.

To think we worked 40 years for this.

Maybe we can build a whole studio.

We could do a lot more with a blue box.

Sold us down the river.

What the hell are you doing?

What are we supposed to do with that?

Exchange it.

I'm sorry. The deadline was two days ago.

But this is a special case. We didn't find it till today.

It's okay if you exchange it four or five to one.

Sorry, but there's no extension. We wouldn't have taken cash, anyway.

That's impossible. There must be a way.

You understood me. The time is up.

Your time will be up soon, idiot! This is 30,000 marks!

This was our money for 40 years, damn it.

Now you Wessie assholes say it's not worth anything?

Please leave the premises immediately!

Hands off!

What are you staring at? It was your money too!

Hands off!

Assholes!

Are you crazy?

I felt like the commander of a submarine in the North Atlantic...

...whose trusty steel coat is leaking.

The moment I had covered one leak, the next one sprang up.

Ariane was refusing to be my sister in arms...

...the class enemy was raising the Coke flag...

...and a west wind whirled Mother's East German money around.

What's so funny? Yell.

What for? Let off some steam.

Open up the valves. Just yell.


In the summer of 1990, the German national soccer team...

...exceeded its production target and won the world championship.

And Mother felt better every day.

"The supposedly size-48 sweater is as wide as a size 54...

...and as long as a size 38."

I am puzzled as to how your staff has arrived at these dimensions.

In Berlin, at least, we are not as short and square as you seem to think.

Christiane, this is brilliant.

Should it be our fault...?

Should it be our fault that our physical measurements...

...stand in the way of your achieving planned production targets?

Please accept our apologies...

...or we will do everything in our power...

...to become shorter and squarer in the future.

With socialist greetings...

Hanna Schafer.

Hello, Mrs. Schafer.

It's so nice talking with your mother. It feels like the old days.

With a few changes.

This complaint can go to the West mail-order company.

Is not just cities and villages Our country is All the trees in the forest Our country

I've had such a nice visit from Frank and Christian, former pupils of mine.

Hello. Hello.

Mrs. Kerner needs to rest now.

Bye. But why?

Now beat it, and don't come back! What about the 20 marks?

What 20 marks? Sascha said we'd get 20 marks if we...

Hello, Mr. Mehlert. Hi, Alex.

Problems with your toaster? Go on in, she'll be happy to see you.

Now get out, and tell your friends I don't want any more Pioneers here.

Okay, boss.

What's wrong with you?

You can't just let kids in here!

Why not? She loved it.

You East Germans are never satisfied.

Always bitching and complaining!

You're just like your mother, with her stupid petitions.

My mom doesn't complain!

She offers constructive criticism to help improve conditions in society!

But you never cared about that! Nope.

Haven't you noticed? This is a club for veterans of socialism.

Evening. Hi.

Why don't you charge admission? Right. We'll charge to get in.

You be quiet. He bought a Trabbi.

Seriously? A station wagon.

Unbelievable. Paula will end up a nut case if things go on like this.

Oh, come on.

Twenty years GDR didn't turn us into crazies.

In your case, I'm not so sure.

Shit.

Shit!

Just great.

I'll get a cloth.

What's wrong?

Nosebleed again?

I know this is stressful for you. I also wish we didn't have to...

I saw Dad.

This evening.

Where?

At work.

I recognized his voice right away.

What did he say?

Three cheeseburgers and two fries with mayonnaise.

Three cheeseburgers and two fries with mayonnaise.

How does he look?

He drives a Volvo station wagon and wears gold-rimmed glasses.

What did you say to him?

"Enjoy your meal, and thanks for choosing Burger King. "

Enjoy your meal, and thanks for choosing Burger King.


My father lived somewhere in the city.

My image of him was that...

...of a fat guy stuffing his face with cheeseburgers and fries.

He lived in his world...

...and I lived in mine.

He had nothing to do with me, and I had nothing to do with him.

Keep still. Otherwise this won't work.

Is this going to take much longer?

I have to be home in two hours.

You always have to be somewhere in two hours.

I'm tired of hearing that.

Great. My mother's sick, my job's stressful, and my girlfriend's annoyed.

I've got exams in two days.

You'll do just fine.

It's just making a cast.

Then I may as well quit studying.

I meant that in a good way. I believe in you!

Lara, cut the crap!

You have to tell your mother.

What? You have to tell your mother!

Not for my sake, for her sake.

Lara!

Shit. Lara!

Spreewald PICKLES Life in our little country kept getting faster.

We were all like tiny atoms in a huge particle accelerator.

But sheltered from the fast pace of the new time was an oasis of calm.

A restful place of peace, where I could sleep.

You know, Paula...

...Alex didn't used to be so tired after work.

Paula...

...is learning to walk, Alex.


You see? I can walk too.

Paula, you see?

My little Paula.

Come here to Grandma. Come.

Now we're gonna show Alex what we can do.

Let's see how far Grandma gets.


Hi. Hi.

Hello.

Young man? Can I sit down for a minute?

Of course.

You're not from here, are you? No, I'm from Wuppertal.

From the West?


Mama?


Mama, what are you doing here?

Mama! Come.

What's the matter with you? You can't just get up like that!

Shit.

What's going on here?

Central committee of the Socialist Unity Party...

...Germany.

The sound is okay. Okay.

Ready to roll.

Camera's rolling. Three, two, one.

Berlin.

Still rolling.

Berlin.

At an extraordinary meeting called by the Socialist Unity Party...

...the secretary general of the central committee...

...and chairman of the East German State Council...

...our Comrade Erich Honecker, granted political asylum in the GDR...

...to West Germans seeking refuge in our Prague and Budapest embassies...

...in a typically generous gesture of compassion.

Honecker sees this as a historic shift in East-West relations...

...and promised everyone entering the GDR...

...200 marks welcome money.

Unemployment, bleak prospects...

...and the increasing success of neo-Nazi parties in West Germany...

...have caused many worried West Germans...

...to turn away from capitalism in recent months.

They have come to our country to make a new life for themselves.

Here they are, the cars of some of our new fellow citizens.

Most West Germans have been put up in Berlin's central districts for now.

Due to the unprecedented situation, the party's central committee...

...has established the initiative "Solidarity With the West. "

The plan will help find homes for our new citizens.

Somehow, my scheme had taken on a life of its own.

The GDR I created for her...

...increasingly became the one I might have wished for.

Those who are willing to take in a refugee from West Germany...

...should report to the local authorities.

How many refugees have come so far?

I'm not sure. About 10 or 20,000.

Just look at that. People want to come to our country.

Where are they all going to live?

The authorities will help them.

Look, children. We must do our bit.

We have to help.

How can we? There's no room here.

The weekend cabin.

The cabin?

We could fix it up.

I wanted to go out there anyway.

Congratulations. Well done. Now she wants to go out to the cabin.

You'd better start redecorating the whole city.

But I'm telling you, I quit.

Ari and I are looking for a place. We'll be gone in four weeks.

What?

I'm pregnant.

Again? Can't you be more careful?

Isn't Paula enough for you?

You can't leave me alone with Mother. Take in some West German refugees.

You're such a cynic.

You wish she would die.

And thus, unity was restored, at least in our little family.

That's your baby.

That's its heart.

Amazing.

The baby would be both East and West German.

East and West Germany signed agreements.

Moscow figured that two plus four equaled one...

...and East-West friendship was toasted with Russian bubbly.

In Berlin, we went on our first East-West German outing.

I'm not a kid. Take this blindfold off. No peeking!

Where are we going?

It's a surprise.

The car still smells new. What color is it?

You waited three years. What's another half hour?

Absolutely right.


Mama?

It's beautiful.

Sky blue.

Now, turn around.

Oh, my God, the garden.

Remember how Alex locked himself in the bathroom?

We knocked and knocked, but no answer.

I had climbed out through the roof...

...and was watching the commotion from a tree.

I peed my pants laughing.

What happened during the eight months I slept?

Is she asleep? Yes.

You've grown up. That's what happened.

You're more like your father every day.

Mama... I lied. It's not like you think.

What? Your father...

Your father didn't stay in the West because of a woman.

That was a lie.

When I said he never wrote...

...that was a lie too.

He wrote letters to me and to you too.

They're behind the kitchen cabinet.

They made life miserable for him because he wasn't in the party.

It was awful.

He didn't let on to others...

...but I knew.

I knew, but I couldn't help him.

Then came this conference in West Berlin.

We only had two days to decide.

Your father wanted to stay in the West, and I was supposed to follow with you.

Well...

...I just couldn't do it.

I was terribly scared.

You don't know what it's like...

...applying for an exit visa with two kids.

They make you wait forever.

Sometimes years.

They could have taken you away from me, you understand?

I didn't go.

That was the biggest mistake of my life. I know that now.

I lied to you. Please forgive me.


My dear Robert.

I've thought of you so often.

I so wish I could see you one more time.


That evening, Mother's condition suddenly got worse.

AMBULANCE


As I feared, your mother has had another heart attack.

She's stable at the moment. But I'm afraid...

...we should expect the worst. I'm sorry.

Doctors can be wrong. Sometimes... Don't delude yourself, Alex.

Here. I found them.

He lives in Wannsee.

I know it's her last wish...

...but I just can't go out there.

Mother won't die.

Bye.


Now you can take someone in.

Take whom in?

A refugee from the West.


You need to get some sleep.

You can lie down in the nurses' room.


There he was, my childhood idol...

...like a ghost from my past: Sigmund Jahn.

Not signing autographs...

...not telling kids about the secrets of the universe...

...the freedom of weightlessness, and the infinite reaches of space.

He was just driving a tiny, smelly Lada taxi.

Where to?

Wannsee.

I know what you're thinking. Many people do, but I'm not him.

And so we flew through the night...

...as if gliding through outer space, light years from our solar system.

We passed strange galaxies harboring unknown life forms...

...and landed in Wannsee.

Could you wait a minute?

It won't take long.

Good evening. Hello. Come in.

Is Mr. Kerner here?

The buffet is outside. This way.

Hello.

Hello. Good evening.

Hello.


Hello. Hello.

Can I watch The Sandman with you? Only if you tell your name.

Alexander.

Look, he's an astronaut today.

Where I come from, we say cosmonaut.

Where do you come from? From another country.

My little teddy bears. Hi, Papa.

Hello. How are you? Fine.

You're a Sandman fan too?

Yes, actually.

Excuse me, do we know each other? Yes, we do.

I'm afraid I forgot your name. His name is Alexander.

Alex?

Robert.

Robert, we're waiting for you.

Robert, come on!

We know you like to hide in the bathroom on occasions like this.

Papa, you have to give your speech. Robert, come on out.

Robert. I'll be right back.

There he is.

Man, Robert, you sure kept us waiting.

Evening greeting

Thank you all for coming.

Thank you and...

...have a good time.

I'm sorry about the party today.

If I had known you were coming...

Funny, I always imagined you'd have a swimming pool.

There's a lake nearby.

My God, I didn't even recognize you.

I guess I have a new brother and sister.

For three years, I waited to hear from you.

Every day I waited.

There was nothing I longed for more.

Why have you come?

Mother is dying.

She had a heart attack.

She wants to see you one more time.

What was it like up there?

Up there?

Oh, I see.

Up there.

It was beautiful up there.

But very far from home.

The border doesn't exist anymore. It doesn't exist anymore.

But... It's okay. It's just one country now.

I don't get it. That's all not true. That's why you have to play along.

And why have I supposedly come back to East Germany?

I don't know. Think of something.

No, this is absurd. I can't do this.

It's hard at first, but easy once you start.


I want to get up.

How do I look?

You can go in now.

Remember, don't say a word. Yes, I know.

What did you two talk about? Does that matter now?

How long has he been in there with her?

Over an hour.

I hope he doesn't slip up.

The summer was over. I decided to end the whole charade.

We would celebrate the birthday of our socialist fatherland one last time.

But, in contrast to real life, it would get the sendoff it deserved.


Camera's rolling. On the count of three.

"Dear citizens of the German Democratic Republic...

...someone who has experienced the miracle...

...of seeing our blue planet from outer space... "

Because Mother could hardly wait...

...we celebrated the country's birthday on October 2...

...instead of October 7, 1990.

It was the day before official reunification.

OCTOBER 7 Sunday


So?

My best film yet, pal.

Too bad only your mother will see it. Thanks, Denis. Without you...

Enough already. Get lost before we get too sentimental.

Let me know how it goes!

On the occasion of the country's birthday...

...Erich Honecker resigned from all his positions today.

What?

Let our friends in the world rest assured that socialism...

In his speech at the official reception at the Palace of the Republic...

...Erich Honecker explained his decision...

...by stating that the events of the last few months...

...are a worthy conclusion to his political work.

Honecker congratulated his successor as head of the party...

...and chairman of the state council, Sigmund Jahn.

What? Jahn?

In 1978, Jahn had been the first German cosmonaut in space.

This evening, the country's new leader addressed the citizens of the GDR.

Dear citizens of the German Democratic Republic...

...someone who has experienced the miracle...

...of seeing our blue planet from outer space...

...has a different perspective on things.

Up there, in the vast emptiness of space...

...life on Earth seems small and insignificant.

You ask yourself what humanity has achieved.

What are its goals? Which of those goals has it achieved?

It's our country's birthday today. Seen from space, it's tiny.

And yet, in the last year, thousands have come here.

People we used to consider enemies now want to live in our midst.

We know our country isn't perfect.

But the ideals we believe in continue to inspire people all over the world.

We might have lost sight of our goals at times...

...but we managed to regain our focus.

Socialism isn't about walling yourself in.

It's about reaching out to others and living with them.

It means not only dreaming about a better world, but making it happen.

Therefore, I have decided to open our country's borders.

Immediately after the Wall opened...

...thousands of West Germans took advantage of the opportunity...

...to pay the German Democratic Republic a first visit.

Many hope to stay, seeking an alternative...

...to the tough struggle for survival under capitalism.

Isn't it wonderful? Not everyone wants...

...careerism and spiraling consumption.

The rat race isn't for everyone.

These people want a different life.

They've realized there's more to life than cars, VCRs and TV sets.

They are willing to bring good will, hard work and hope...

...to building new lives for themselves.

Wow.


My mother outlived the GDR by three days.

I believe it was a good thing she never learned the truth.

She died happy.

She wanted us to scatter her ashes to the winds.

That's prohibited in Germany, both East and West.

But we didn't care.


She's up there somewhere now. Maybe looking down at us.

Maybe she sees us as tiny specks on the Earth's surface...

...just like Sigmund Jahn did back then.

The country my mother left behind was a country she believed in...

...a country we kept alive till her last breath...

...a country that never existed in that form...

...a country that, in my memory, I will always associate with my mother.