The movies entitled Goodbye Lenin and Paragraph 175 are considered as two of the most significant films that present the narrative of German leadership that occurred in a different time and era. These movies are set to render a lucid presentation regarding the varying face of Berlin politics and leadership in their rule of a divided country. Given that, Germany, for a long a period, is separated by the diverse perception and own personal motives of their people, the movies Goodbye Lenin and Paragraph 175 provide an amazing discussion and enlightenment regarding the normal reactions and acceptance of the German people towards the political standpoint and ideologies of their leaders.
Apart from political and leadership context of these movies, Goodbye Lenin and Paragraph 175 also present a clear presentation of the German society, more especially during the times where anxiety and confusion dominate the country. Through the stories of different characters, which have lived in separate eras, both of the movies depict a well-documented image of how the people suffer from the various changes in the society and with the way political leaders rule Germany, during their time. In this regard, this paper is primary set to review the movies Goodbye Lenin and Paragraph 175, separately. With the use of identical guide questions, this movie review will then analyze the specific stories of both films regarding political leadership and the acceptance of the people towards their political ideologies. Towards the end of the paper, the possible learning and moral values of Goodbye Lenin and Paragraph 175 would be discussed.
The movie entitled Goodbye Lenin, in a sense, presents one of the most significant events in the history of Germany, more especially with that of the eastern part of the country. The film mainly highlights the most disputed era in German history, wherein through this same age, the various personal and political beliefs are in active contention that aims to sustain the current stand of German Democratic Republic in East Berlin. Given that Germany, as a country that is long divided by its border and set of idealistic people, the film Goodbye Lenin displays this situation by depicting the struggle and story of a German family whose standpoint regarding the German Reunification is divided.
Alex, one of the family members, is an anti-government activist who is predominantly favored of accepting the changes that would happen to their state. Christiane, on the other hand, is the mother of Alex whose political point of view is in favor of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany that supports the German Democratic Republic. On the other hand, Ariane, as the daughter of Christiane and the sister of Alex, remains to be on neutral grounds. However, she still cannot deny the fact that she has benefited a lot from the political and social changes that have happened in Berlin. In this specific scenario, it depicts the diverse look on the issue regarding the submission of East Berlin to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Apart from the narrative of Alex’s family, the fall of Berlin Wall and the dawn of capitalism in the city are among the main issue in the film. Given the fact that the standpoint and perception of the people is divided when it comes to the issue of German reunification, the film mainly shows the particular responses of the people regarding the issue. From the characters’ point of view, their understanding towards the political ideology of their leader varies from their own inclination and personal motives.
For instance, Alex understands the political standpoint of their leader as a move that would probably give a new beginning for their state and society but would definitely jeopardize the democracy and legacy that Berlin has, prior to the reunification process. Though Alex, just like any other angry individual, joined the street anti-government demonstration, his understanding with regard to the issue is influenced by weighing the situation in favor of what is more convenient to him and for his community. As for Alex’s perception, the political ideology of their leader and the actions of the government is a just issue that is worthy of attention because the actions and standpoint of their leader, as well as the government, holds the future of their state and the lives of people, as a whole.
Christiane, on the other hand, understands the political ideology presented in the film as a disgrace of the old legacy attached to Berlin’s democracy and independence. Being a devoted supporter of GDR, understanding the move of the government that would allow capitalism in Berlin has been painful for her. Nonetheless, based on the film’s main narrative, resistance and difficulty of adjustment in various changes in the society are realities presented in the movie. One of the evident lessons and morals of the story is that change should not be characterized as something that entails negative effects and results in the lives of the people and in the society. In fact, acceptance and better understanding of the issue are the keys that would accommodate change and welcome any transformation that would help people in improving their living.
The movie Paragraph 175 shows the critical and controversial moment in the history of Berlin, as one of the states in Germany. The film mainly features the type of leadership that the German Nazis had and their regard for human right. In a sense, this movie depicts the story of Berlin, as a paradise for homosexuals in 1920’s, which later turned out to be a place of suffering and pain under the Nazis’ leadership. Hundreds and thousands of Gays and lesbians were captured between 1933 and 1945 under the Paragraph 175, which entails the sodomy provision of German penal code. Some were imprisoned while the others are sent to the concentration camps. Out of the estimated 100,000 arrested gays and lesbians, there were only 4,000 who survived.
In a closer look of the issue presented in the movie, the immediate understanding of the characters towards the ideology of their leader is filled with confusion and variation. Some of the few survivors who are able to share their stories have later supported the campaign of the Nazis by joining the army. This is brought about by their personal motives, which is that of being with a lot of men and to fight for their leader’s ideology. Some of the other characters, on the other hand, do not totally understand and condemns the ideology and actions of their leader. Thus, they criticize it by not following orders from the Nazis despite the situation where there are more people who submit to the leadership of the Nazis.
Majority of the characters presented in the movie has shown extensive care and attention towards the visions of the Nazi’s leadership, more especially in enforcing Paragraph 175. This is mainly because their Nazi leaders hold the key to their future, not only as a homosexual but as an individual who has great passion for love and healthy relationships in the most ideal way they know. As for most of the survivors who are able to tell their tales of suffering and survival, their lives and futures are their immediate concern while they stay inside the prison and concentration camp. This follows the notion that Paragraph 175 is a violation against the right of human to life.
Lastly, given the fact that the movie Paragraph 175 presents the last untold story of the Third Reich about the arrests and prosecutions of homosexual during the Nazis leadership in Berlin, the main narrative of the film depicts the reality of human as a judgmental and prejudicial race. In the end, the most vital lesson and moral of the story pertains towards the right of every individual to live the kind of life and personality that they wanted have. Though gays and lesbians accused of being immoral at one point in time, this world remains a place made not only for the sane and good ones. Everyone has the freedom to live and practice the life that they want, regardless of their gender.
Good Bye, Lenin – 2004. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2009, from http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/good_bye_lenin/
Good Bye Lenin. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2009, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0301357/
Paragraph 175. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2009, from http://www.tellingpictures.com/films/5.html
Paragraph 175 – 2000. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/paragraph_175/