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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 08:21 am (UTC)
Don't you have some high school German? I at least get by, if wihtout the right inclinaitons...
Dec. 2nd, 2003 01:05 am (UTC)
Don't you have some high school German?

Oh yes, I do. And I do get by, but there's one -purely psychological- problem: I have absolutely no confidence speaking it, and get hopelessly muddled. I can think it up perfectly (well, apart from the inclinations) in my head, but when it gets time to actually vocalise it, I get so nervous it comes out unrecognisable or just plain wrong.

I never used to have this problem until some 10 years ago, when I had the incredible misfortune to mangle the German language (again, it was an inclination thing) in a group of neo-nazi's hearing. They tore into me, calling me every name they could think of and demanding I unpollute their country immediately and never come back, and it was only due to a couple of my German friends with me that it didn't escalate. They tried to reassure me that it didn't matter if I didn't get it right all the time and that everyone could understand my meaning, but I was so shaken I swore then and there that I would never ever willingly speak German again.

Of course, I never could keep that up...but ever since that incident, I feel very self-conscious about speaking German, and prefer to speak English if I can.