The Relationship between History and Memory:

The post-war period ends in Germany in 1989 by pulverizing of the Berlin wall. The fusion procedure brought a batch of jobs in all subdivisions of the society. It has besides brought jobs to Germany’s future function as economic and political powers and directs the attending once more to the disputing legacies of the past and attempts to alter the significances of the national civilization as a united Europe to crisp and clear the economic, societal and cultural differences. After 17 twelvemonth of CDU regulation, in 1998, the new SPD was led by Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and it made its manner into recruit societal and economic reforms to do the state more flexible on in-migration, employment jobs and more competitory in the planetary market. However, this move made a batch of concerns about the drawing down of the societal public assistance province, the crosion of a German Leitkultur and the jobs in the New States as there were still racial force and employment issues. When the authorities moved into Berlin, the constructions of Reichstag and Potsdamer Platz, made the public think about the alterations in the state and individuality. All of these events had an impact on the German film but they were less traceable in the few characteristic movies that had a direct subject about the fusion than in the unannounced resurgence of popular film, based on a critical scrutiny by some movie bookmans ( Rentschler 2000 ) . Film-makers returned to the post-war period genre to turn to particular fusion jobs as a method of recovering the bracing intent of classical narrative and of using these effects. This procedure found an look in the new generation’s dissension to movie motion with the societal and political including New German Cinema. The immature film-makers from manufacturers to managers did non accept its doctrine of the writing and individuality for a more practical, cooperation and between originative and marketable involvements. Sing amusement as a primary indispensable in film and movies, they organized themselves with international tendencies in film-financing and selling that had made the 1990s an bland decennary for movies, conquered by the blockbuster movie. However, answering to some domestic concerns, film-makers registered the consistent effects of genre in the modifying of the German yesteryear and the remapping of the German present inside the cultural and geopolitical of post-wall Europe, and seeking to near themselves openly to German audiences, the movies of the 1990s required to house the audience’s conflicting desire of both making the narrations of the Germannerss less complex and give more room for optimistic images of a multiethnic, multi-cultural civilization. It is besides considered that the wider the consequence of go oning reconsideration for modern filmic performs and the authorship of movie history. Film bookmans have started to look into the chief serious theoretical accounts and give excess attention to the connexions between German popular film and its intent.

InGoodbye Lenin!( Dir. : Wolfgang Becker, 2003 ), it reveals the alteration of point of view on the sense of East-West integrity in post-wall Germany. Becker approaches to unification in his movieGoodbye Lenin!By exanimating the images of separation and connexion that he created. He besides approaches fusion between the East and the West as something unwelcome. The construct of unifying two parts together becomes the thought of one portion is overpowering the other and the other is contending this battle. The opposition remainder on sing the German Democratic Republic which is known as East Germany as a incorporate single portion. As the remainder of the movie focal point on maintaining the feeling of GDR integrity in the unification’s strength to wipe out that feeling. The get downing scenes of Alex’s childhood express the separation of Germany in this movie as a represented by the household. It seems to let for more pleasant relationships for Alex’s letdown to his male parent who travels to the West and Alex’s female parent and sister remains in the East. The separation is non about the division of the two parts but instead about the discharge of riotous elements from the controlled integrity of the GDR. The separation leads to more tightly enforced feeling of the integrity as a hint in the mother’s attempts to show any demand for traveling back with the male parent. However, alternatively of seeking to convey the male parent back to her universe, she creates a new universe where the male parent has no function in it. She merges the household without him in her alleged battle to assistance the GDR achieve its socialistic values. Therefore there is no desire to get the better of the separation between the East and the West. The movie represents the integrity of the GDR through many place films and flashbacks to Alex’s childhood which makes the household overcomes the trouble of the fact that the male parent left the place and the mother’s dislocation to develop as loyal protagonists of the GDR socialism. Subsequently on, Alex joins in protests for freedom to go out the GDR. At this minute, the female parent sees Alex in the protest and she swoon because of her son’s challenge for his dream, she represents diverts him from his difficult work to arise. Christiane goes into an eight months coma.

As Christiane aftermaths from her coma, Alex fears that if she knew about the GDR after the autumn of Berlin wall, the daze will give her another bosom onslaught after the first bosom onslaught in 1989 and it will ensue in her decease as her physician advised Alex. As he is faced with the loss of both of his female parent and the province with which she recognized, the memory of his childhood and the vanishing GDR starts to take on parallel potencies to his imaginativenesss of infinite. The historical distance of his East German childhood, offers Alex a want of a resting topographic point off from experience of clip that would divide him rapidly from his female parent and his yesteryear. All of these losingss to Alex portion a desire for a division, a slow flow of clip. As Svetlana Boym says of nostalgia: “At first glimpse, nostalgia is a yearning for a topographic point, but really it is a longing for a different time- the clip of our childhood, the slower beat of our dreams. In a broader sense, nostalgia is a rebellion against the modern thought of clip, the clip of history and progress.” [ 1 ]

The movie represents the adult’s relationship to the memory of childhood through Alex’s efforts to retain a nexus to his personal yesteryear with all of these alterations that happens in his universe that surround him, trusting that he can widen his mother’s life. Alex hides the dislocation of the East German province by animating his mother’s sleeping room with the antique GDR trappingss that he and his older sister threw after the dislocation. Alex besides create the childhood “heaven” that he ne’er had before and his dream of that perfect topographic point conflict both of communism and capitalism’s large-scale troubles of eternal advancement, Alex turns his perfect topographic point desire hidden, looking for refuge in the commonness of mundane life and in the national infinites of personal childhood. Andreas Huyssen proposes that this “memory boom… is a potentially healthy mark of contestation” in our fast-paced universe, “recover [ ing ] a manner of contemplation outside the existence of simulation and fast-speed information and overseas telegram networks” every bit good as saying “the basic human demand to populate in drawn-out constructions of temporality.” [ 2 ] However, Alex’s saving act carries a positive potency in the context of the fusion and the ensuing dissensions of both the societal and political constructions of East German. He risks detaining a method of observation that would ensue to his mother’s decease, covering himself alternatively in the comfort of a dateless nowadays. Christiane’s sleeping room becomes a shelter, where the despairing haste to fusion and the likewise fleet closing of the GDR have slowed down. In retracing the physical environment linked with his childhood, Alex offers himself a historical infinite to renegociate his connexion to his yesteryear in the manner of the incoming loss. As modern establishments to mundane life in the GDR favor to concentrate on house entities instead than the political leftovers, Alex’s program steps out of the current of historical upset and rough alteration, enduring in the slower pulsations of his private life. The degree of protection about the objects that relates to his mother’s extended endurance, Alex’s museum infinite offers him clip to copy on the opportunity of his mother’s decease, by the aid of artifacts that created a memory assistance nexus to the vanishing GDR. In a statement on the altering significances of museums in the modern civilization, Andreas Huyssen proposes that modern museums support us “to negotiate and to joint a relationship to the yesteryear that is ever besides a relationship to the transitory and to decease, our ain included ; ” we may therefore see the museum as “a life-enhancing instead than mummifying establishment in an age set on the destructive denial of death…” . [ 3 ] Alex’s museum infinite offers him the opportunity to acquire to the loss on his ain docket, to demo grieve if his female parent died without a bound, surrounded by entities that reminds him of the childhood in an ambiance of quiet reverberation. Regardless of the positive Alex’s protection of civilization entities to protect against the comprehensive remotion of the East and to mend his blessing of his personal loss, the fast one is triggered in his rebuilding that will finally prevents from a positive relationship to the yesteryear, present, or hereafter. To support his female parent from the daze he worries that he will kill her, Alex must retain the feeling that the extremist alterations of the Wende did non go on. Rather than easy simplifying things his female parent, and himself, into the present, Alex works increasingly to double a frame in the yesteryear, pouring Western nutrients into East German jars and bottles collected from the rubbish, shooting bogus East German intelligence and even coercing friends and invitees to have on old East German apparels. Unlike a museum, where the physical and historical distance between spectator and entity inspires a serious reverberation, Alex’s complete reconstructing a time-sphere to set his female parent in the feeling of a dateless nowadays, where artifacts of the yesteryear may non demo any symbols of age. Boym distinguishes between two types of nostalgia: renewing nostalgia, which search for to retrace the missing place and brooding nostalgia, which lingers fondly on ruins. As Boym express that,

“Restoration signifies a return to the original stasis, to the prelapsarian minute. The yesteryear for the renewing nostalgic is a value for the present ; the yesteryear is non a continuance but a perfect snapshot. Furthermore, the yesteryear is non supposed to uncover any marks of decay ; it has to be newly painted in its “original image” and remain everlastingly immature. Brooding nostalgia is more concerned with historical and single clip, with the irrevocability of the past and human finiteness. Reflection suggests new flexibleness, non the reestablishment of stasis. The focal point here is non on recovery of what is perceived to be an absolute truth but on the speculation on history and the transition of time” . [ 4 ]

Both the ordinary path of clip and the historical upsets of 1989-1990 have distorted Alex’s childhood desire to go and the physical distance to outer infinite into a desire for the historical distance of his East German childhood, by hyperbolically interrupting up the historical distance of his East German childhood. However, he fights his thought on the path of clip, and as a consequence, he fails to originate to a decision of loss. Though his mother’s sleeping room protects him from the spring of life in the existent universe, Alex dodges looking the option of decease by building a zone where clip is make a stationary point. Besides, since he can non settle the joy of fusion and seeking to protect of the yesteryear at the same clip, Alex’s inner and external universes develop of all time more separation. Throughout the movie, the West German football team’s triumph in the 1990 World Cup AIDSs as an icon of internal integrity in Germany, actuating the attacks of integrity and shared jubilation.

Good Bye, Lenin! Ends with the collocation of the depressing, bedraggled streets of the GDR and the bright colors of the Super-8 movies that had represented happy minutes in Alex’s childhood in the beginning of the movie. Once the Berlin Wall falls, Alex’s desire for the slower gait of life was paid by the distance of infinite every bit good as his East German childhood is an reply to his demand to grieve the loss of his female parent in a historical time-space isolated from that which so rapidly and unsentimentally thrown out the GDR. Though he briefly falls as a victim to a returning nostalgia that would forestall him from transporting on into the hereafter, Alex on the other manus reveals how the protection of East German popular and culture’s entities in incorporate Germany can help the GDR citizens to maintain a connexion to the his yesteryear, simplifying the reverberation on the path of clip and recognizing the loss that relates to the unstable cultural significance of East German entities. Alex in the terminal sends his mother’s ashes into the air on a banger that had the same individuality and was about a reproduction to the bantam projectile of his childhood. As he is looking up at the pyrotechnics in the sky, he imagines that his female parent is looking down on them from infinite. The significance of his relationship to infinite has now upturned from the recreation of his childhood to accept the decease fact in maturity. For Alex, GDR childhood interruptions and fails as being a “haven” to him, where he can detain sadness everlastingly, and he develops a aggregation of cultural markers and personal memories that open up a duologue between the existent and imagined infinites of yesteryear, nowadays, and hereafter. Alex’s desire for a different cognition of clip finally will carry through its positive prospective to recover a missing connexion to the slower beat of East German childhood, standing in forepart of fast and confusing historical upset.

In Pierre Nora article ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memorie’ , he claimed that many subdivision of memory exists because people do non hold impetuously originating memory, alternatively, the people depend on history to make full in the spreads of their memory. He besides claims that the leftovers of an experience have been “ ‘moved under the weightiness of a basically historical sensibility’ with stalking images of the “push and pull” consequence of historical minutes that are being separated from the motion of history and so re-joint, ‘like shells on the shore when the sea of populating memory has receded.” [ 5 ] Nora proposes that the bing desire for archives files AIDSs his doctrine in that states are seeking to enter everything based on the doctrine “record every bit much as you can, something will remain.” Nora appears to understand the government’s history storing because the culture’s measure has crushed the existent memory.


Anton, Christine, Pilipp Frank, Beyond Political Correctness. Remapping German Sensibilities in the twenty-first Century ( Germany: Rodopi, 2010 ) , pp: 218-220

Clarke, David, German Cinema since Unification ( London: Continuum, 2006 ) , pp:

Hake, Sabine, German National Cinema ( London: Routledge, 2001 ) , 179-180

Nora, Pierre, ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire’ in Representations, No. 26, Particular Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, ( spring, 1989 ) , pp. 7-24.