Film Info: GOOD BYE, LENIN!

GOOD BYE, LENIN!

GOOD BYE, LENIN!
Daniel Bruehl (photo © X Filme)

October 1989 was a bad time to fall into a coma if you lived in East Germany - and this is precisely what happens to Alex's mother, an activist for social progress and the improvement of everyday life in socialist East Germany. Alex has a big problem on his hands when she suddenly awakens eight months later. Her heart is so weak that any shock might kill her. And what could be more shocking than the fall of the Berlin Wall and the triumph of capitalism in her beloved country? To save his mother, Alex transforms the family apartment into an island of the past, a kind of socialist museum where his mother is lovingly duped into believing that nothing has changed. What begins as a little white lie gets more and more out of hand as Alex's mother, who feels better every day, wants to watch TV and even leaves her bed one day…

In a wonderful, touching and comic manner, GOOD BYE, LENIN! tells the story of how a loving son tries to move mountains and create miracles to restore his mother to health - and keep her in the belief that Lenin really did win after all!


Wolfgang Becker was born in 1954 in Hemer/Westphalia and studied German, History and American Studies at the Free University in Berlin. He followed this with a job at a sound studio in 1980 and then began studies at the German Film & Television Academy (dffb). He started working as a freelance cameraman in 1983 and graduated from the dffb in 1986 with Butterflies (Schmetterlinge), which won the Student Academy Award in 1988, the Golden Leopard at Locarno and the Saarland Prime-Minister's Award at the 1988 Ophuels Festival Saarbruecken. He directed the Tatort-episode, Blutwurstwalzer, before making his second feature Children's Games (Kinderspiele, 1992), the documentary Celibidache (1992), and the Berlinale competition features Life is All You Get (Das Leben ist eine Baustelle, 1997), and Good Bye, Lenin! (2003).
Genre Comedy, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2003
Director Wolfgang Becker
Screenplay Wolfgang Becker, Bernd Lichtenberg
Cinematography Martin Kukula
Peter R. Adam
Yann Tiersen
Lothar Holler
Cast Maria Simon, Chulpan Khamatova, Katrin Sass, Daniel Brühl, Florian Lukas, Alexander Beyer, Michael Gwisdek, Burghart Klaußner
Producer Stefan Arndt
Production Company X Filme Creative Pool, in cooperation with WDR, ARTE
Length 118 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions English, French, Italian, Spanish
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Berlin 2003 (in competition), Belgrade 2003, Moscow 2003, Karlovy Vary 2003 (Horizons), Toronto 2003 (Contemporary World Cinema), Pusan 2003, Rio 2003, Jerusalem 2003, Warsaw 2003, Sao Paulo 2003, Valladolid 2003, Tokyo 2003, Havana 2003, Sundance 2004, Shanghai 2004, Osaka 2005, Festroia 2014, Zlín 2015
Awards Blue Angel Award for Best European Film Berlin 2003, 8 German Film Awards 2003, German Screenplay Award 2003, FIPRESCI Award Belgrade 2003, Premi Internazionali Flaiano for Best Foreign Language Film & Best New Talent Pescara 2003, Special Jury Prize & Youth Award Valladolid 2003, 6 European Film Awards 2003, Goya 2003 for Best Foreign Film, Best Non-American Film from the Danish Film Critics' Society 2004, César for Best European Film 2004
With backing from German Federal Film Board, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, BKM, MEDIA Program
German Distributor X Verleih/Berlin

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