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Goodbye Lenin!

I went to the movies again yesterday (sometimes I swear it's like the busses: nothing for ages, then 3 or 4 come at once), to see Goodbye Lenin!, a delightful German film about a young Ossi who desperately tries to keep the news of the demise of the German Democratic Republic a secret for his ailing mother, who has invested so much of her life and energy in the socialist paradise. He is helped by his friends and neighbours, but it turns out at the end that it's not just they that are living a lie. It's a beautifully made, bittersweet film, and I can recommend it to everybody.

I spent a couple of weeks in Berlin last year, and it was great to see and recognise parts of it in the film, too. It's a very interesting city, although it appears there isn't very much to do to keep yourself amused when you're there for a longer stay -- it's a bit depressing because of high unemployment and empty houses and office spaces; and hardly anyone speaks a word of English...It's very definitely still trying to find its feet, but in a funny sort of way, that's part of its charm as well the renovated palaces and the brand new government buildings.

Next film on my list: Master and Commander. I loved watching the swashbucklers from the 30s and 40s on TV when I was a child, and Pirates of the Caribbean has whetted my appetite earlier this year. Now I've just got to press someone in to coming with me (my usual film buddy has gone back to live in Birmingham recently)...or go on my own.



Nov. 29th, 2003 06:12 am (UTC)
Been thinking of going to Berlin, Bob is obsessed with Eastern Europe and would like to go again (he went as a kid when he lived in Germany). The lack of English is a bit worrying. I did 2 years of German and all I can do is shout help! (German was the class I did most of my teenage writing in and my teacher is now a convicted paedophile).
How very un-european of me.
Dec. 2nd, 2003 01:15 am (UTC)
Well, you could always revert to the tried and tested English trick of SHOUTING if you can't get your meaning across the first time(that always used to puzzle as well as amuse me when observing this behaviour on holiday in France or Spain -- English tourists would raise their voices when faced with a local who shrugged their shoulders indicating they had no English, and then repeat the question. Obviously thinking, foreigner who has no English must be deaf)...
Dec. 2nd, 2003 05:41 am (UTC)
We are trying to be clear!

We have it too easy, and we should be taught Spanish not French. (I can read french and get the gist, but that's about it. I never use it, no wonder I've forgotten it all. Was always crap at German though)
Dec. 2nd, 2003 07:00 am (UTC)
Spanish used to be my best foreign language after English! But I've grown lazy, and haven't practised it in years. Can still read and understand, but have no fluency in speaking it any longer. A pity. It's a tongue I really liked.
Dec. 2nd, 2003 07:02 am (UTC)
I think the only real way to learn it is to use it everyday.
Dec. 2nd, 2003 07:48 am (UTC)
Yes, that's definitely the only way.

I was lucky in that I had French, English, German, Spanish, Russian, Greek and Latin in school, and was required to take Italian when I was at uni; but one by one, my fluency in all these languages has fallen by the wayside through sheer lack of use (except for English, of course).
Dec. 2nd, 2003 07:50 am (UTC)
Did have any time to learn anything else? :-)
Dec. 2nd, 2003 08:03 am (UTC)
Hardly! I can't do maths to save my life...
Dec. 2nd, 2003 08:04 am (UTC)
That makes two of us.
Dec. 2nd, 2003 08:04 am (UTC)
...a fact for which I'm not at all sorry, I hasten to add.