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Berlin is in Germany

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I remembered hearing that the film Berlin is in Germany doesn’t just carry an obvious truth in its name but was also quite good. But I didn’t see it when it first ran in cinemas, so I was happy to have the opportunity to see it now. The film’s story is intriguing: Its protagonist, Martin, lived in eastern Germany and when wanting to slap a guy in his house for sniffing around his stuff, accidentally killed him. For that he went to jail before reunification and was released almost a decade afterwards.

So he gets out of prison and the world has changed completely. He is a citizen of a different country now, he has a different passport, there’s different money, the people have changed in the years since the reunification. I guess that can be quite alienating and might give quite a unique perspective of the world. How will the guy who wanted to flee the GDR a decade earlier like the ‘west’ that he finally lives in now? Will things seem absurd to him? Will he love it? Possibly something in between, but what?

We don’t learn much about that in the film. While thankfully avoiding the genre of ‘Ostalgia’, it doesn’t give us too much insight in Martin’s dealing with the change. Yet, the film clumsily touches all the other stereotypical topics that are around. The guy coming from jail who doesn’t manage to buy a tram ticket? ✓ The annoyance of bureaucrats, particularly the ‘well meaning’ ones? ✓ His wife and son now living with another guy who just happens to be annoyingly middle class and tennis playing? ✓ And driving a small Mercedes of course? ✓ Him being a good guy who saves his friend’s life and won’t see his dark skinned friend harrassed by others? ✓ Him still not being able to get a job just because he’s been in jail? ✓ And of course him only having at least semi-criminal friends who don’t really help his situation? ✓

Let’s say I’m not impressed. It’s not that there aren’t any good things in the film but there are just so many painfully obvious scenes that it seemed unnecessarily annoying at times when I hoped for something more subtle.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

July 12, 2005, 1:28

Tagged as lang:de.


Comment by Dillan: User icon

this seems, right off the bat, kind of like Goodbye Lenin. Although I havent seen it (and its pretty much impossible for me to see it unless I buy it off amazon or something) it sounds like a movie idea that, while somewhat intriguing, gives you the entire weaving of the plot without actually having to see it.

June 22, 2006, 18:16

Comment by Selene: User icon

i don’t feel that it was clumsily done. I think it was much better than some other films that reflect on the DDR. Helden Wie Wir is probably the best example of a very bad film. Berlin is in Germany was much more subtle and handled the issues of capitalism, the wife moving on in life and racial issues well. I feel that you may be forgetting that the film is through Martin’s eyes so things are analysed by him much more than someone who hasnt been in prison during the fall of the wall. He does not know what it is like to live in Western society and for him, his country is changed and he no longer feels he can identify with it. The only things that he knows are those on his TV.

March 9, 2007, 17:42

Comment by Blanche: User icon

this is the worst film review i have ever read

January 15, 2008, 13:51

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