Good Bye, Lenin!

Good Bye, Lenin! , or Goodbye Lenin! is aGermanfilm byWolfgang Becker, about a screenplay byBernd Lichtenberg. He was released in February2003 in Germany.


Alexander and Ariane Kerner live in East Berlin in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). In the summer of 1978 their father fled to the West. Christiane, their mother, decides to invest herself totally in the social life of the communist regime . But during the 40 th anniversary of the GDR , theshe has a heart attack and falls into a coma. When it comes out, eight months later, Germany with the fall of the Berlin Wall has experienced major upheavals. Fearing a new fatal infarction caused by these great changes, Alexander decides to hide the end of the GDR and trains his entourage in his crazy attempt to recreate a bygone era.


After the escape of her husband Robert to the West in 1978, Christiane Kerner was fully involved in the social life of the communist regime of East Germany. She is recognized as an exemplary comrade by the Party. His son, Alexander, nicknamed Alex, dreams of becoming a cosmonaut like his idol, Sigmund Jähn .

But ten years later he became a disillusioned young man. Her mother helps her neighbors write their constructive criticism about the size of the clothes and her sister, Ariane, raises her baby alone after her breakup.

The Christiane should attend celebrations of the 40 th anniversary of the GDR . On the way, she is forced to stop because of the disorder caused by a protest for freedom of movement and freedom of expression in which Alex participates. Seeing the police suppress the protest and violently arrest her son, she suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma.

Alex regularly comes to see his mother at the hospital, which also allows her to bond with Lara, a Soviet nurse he met at the protest. A few weeks later the Berlin Wall falls. Christiane’s children become part of Western life. Alex becomes a subscription seller for satellite channels and Ariane waitress in a Burger King . But in June 1990 their mother wakes up.

The doctor advises Alex to do everything possible to avoid a relapse caused by a second shock, which means to hide from Christiane the political changes that took place during his coma. Alex decides to bring his mother back to the family apartment and to rearrange her room as if nothing has changed. Although reluctant, Lara and Ariane help her in her business. But Christiane discovers despite all their efforts clues to the profound upheaval that his country has experienced. With the help of his colleague Denis, a former West German, Alex then makes fake East German television newscasts that give plausible explanations for change while maintaining the myth of a triumphant GDR. For Christiane’s birthday, Alex also recruits different neighbors as well as his mother’s former supervisor. These, fallen into unemployment and poverty since the fall of the regime, cultivate the nostalgia of the communist era and enjoy being able to congratulate “an exemplary comrade” on behalf of the highest instances of the Party.

Little by little Alex, more and more overwhelmed by his initial lie, creates around his mother the GDR as he would have liked it to be: open, welcoming and dynamic. But his entourage lives more and more badly the situation. Ariane and Rainer, his new companion from the West, announce their future move because Alex’s sister is pregnant. Lara, for her part, thinks that Christiane should learn the truth.

The whole family leaves for a weekend in their holiday home. Christiane reveals to her children a terrible secret: her husband did not go to the West for another woman but fled for a better life and she had to join him with Alex and Ariane. But she did not have the courage for fear of being arrested by the Stasi and deprived of her children. He nevertheless sent her several letters which she left unanswered. Back at the apartment, Ariane finds the letters on which the address of Robert is indicated.

Alex decides to contact him again. Indeed Christiane has made a new infarction. Once again hospitalized urgently, he has few days left to live. Led by a taxi driver who is either Sigmund Jähn’s double or Sigmund Jähn himself, Alex finds his father, who has remarried and has two children, and brings him to his mother’s bedside.

He then decides to ask “Sigmund Jähn” to play in the latest fake newscast as a leader of the GDR. Destined to be broadcast on the anniversary of the reunification , it shows it in a favorable light for the former East Germany. Thus Christiane will have seen the triumph of the ideology for which she is committed. During the news broadcast, Lara and Ariane find it hard not to burst out laughing while Alex’s mother looks at him fondly when his back is turned. Indeed Lara revealed to him a large part, even the totality of the reality and Christiane can measure the love of her son. Left alone in her room, she sees the fireworks in honor of reunification through the window. She died three days later.

Alex then builds a small rocket filled with fireworks in which he puts the ashes of his mother to disperse them in the sky, according to his last wishes, in the presence of some neighbors and the rest of the family.

Various facts approaching the film

  • Jan Grzebski is a Polish railway worker who fell into a coma in 1988. Jan Grzebski suffered a violent collision with a car and developed a brain tumor and was paralyzed. While the doctors gave him only two years to live, the man woke up 19 years later discovering the new policy of Poland, its entry into the European Union and its accession to NATO. This incident recalls the scenario of the film Good Bye, Lenin! .
  • A retirement home in Dresden has developed a therapy for victims of senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, in which patients are placed in an environment reminiscent of the GDR (everyday objects, furniture, coins ) 1 .

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Good Bye, Lenin!
  • French title: Good Bye, Lenin!
  • Quebec title: Goodbye Lenin!
  • Director: Wolfgang Becker
  • Scenario: Bernd Lichtenberg , Wolfgang Becker
  • Artistic direction: Matthias Klemme
  • Cameraman: Anthony Dod
  • Sets: Lothar Holler
  • Costumes: Aenne Plaumann
  • Photography: Martin Kukula
  • Editing: Peter R. Adam
  • Music: Yann Tiersen
  • Production: Stefan Arndt , Katja De Bock , Andreas Schreitmüller
  • Production Company (s): Ocean Films
  • Distribution Company (s): X-Filme Creative Pool , TF1 Video , Sony Pictures Classics
  • Budget:  4,800,000
  • Country of origin: Germany
  • Language: German
  • Genre : Drama
  • Duration: 121 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  Germany :(International Film Festival Berlin )
    •  Germany :
    •  France :( Cannes Film Festival )
    •  France / Belgium : 


  • Daniel Brühl (VF: Damien Witecka ) : Alexander Kerner
  • Katrin Sass (VF: Anne Jolivet ) : Christiane Kerner
  • Maria Simon (VF: Céline Mauge ) : Ariane Kerner
  • Chulpan Khamatova : Lara
  • Florian Lukas (VF: Alexandre Gillet ) : Denis Domaschke
  • Alexander Beyer (VF: Jérôme Rebbot ) : Rainer
  • Burghart Klaussner (VF: Jean-Yves Chatelais ) : Robert Kerner (father)
  • Michael Gwisdek : Klapprath
  • Christine Schorn : Mrs Schäfer
  • Jürgen Holtz (VF: Michel Fortin ) : Mr Ganske
  • Jochen Stern : Mr Mehlert
  • Stefan Walz : Sigmund Jähn
  • Eberhard Kirchberg (VF: Eric Herson-Macarel )r Wagner
  • Hans-Uwe Bauer (VF Arnaud Arbessier)r Mewes
  • Nico Ledermueller : Alexander Kerner (11 years old)


Main article: Good Bye, Lenin! (soundtrack) .

The soundtrack of the film is composed by Yann Tiersen . In 2004, she was awarded a Victoire de l’album de musique original de cinéma .


The film was a great success both in the western and eastern parts of Germany , as well as in several European countries. He won the Deutscher Filmpreis (German Film Award) nine times: best film, Daniel Brühl best actor, Florian Lukas best supporting actor, best director, three technical awards for editing, directing and music, as well as the public award for “German Film of the Year” and actor of the year for Daniel Brühl .

The , it is the first German film to receive the European Film Award of the Year . Daniel Brühl as an actor and Bernd Lichtenberg as screenwriter were also awarded this prize. He also won the Blaue Engel at the 2003 Berlinale .

In France, the film received the César for Best Film of the European Union in 2004 . In Spain, he receives the same year the Goya for the best European film .

Notes and references



  1. ↑ Amaury Guibert, ” A dive in the former GDR nostalgia as therapy against Alzheimer ”  [ archive ] , on , (accessed June 26, 2017 )

Leave a comment