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Travel Movies We Love: Sign Us Up for Communist Kitsch

April 1st, 2010 · 1 comment · Blog posts by Lia, Travel Movies We Love

6. Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

Alex lives in East Berlin. It’s 1989. His mom falls into a coma for a few months, and in that time the Berlin Wall falls. Mom wakes up, and because she’s a true believer in Communism, he painstakingly recreates all the aspects of East Berlin that are quickly evaporating in front of his eyes.

Turns out that prolonging the Iron Curtain isn’t that far-fetched. Around the time of this movie, Travel + Leisure covered the trend of bars in Berlin with Communist-era decor and themes. More recently, someone opened a Stasi-themed bar. Yikes. (For more on the Stasi–the East German secret police–see the excellent and depressing film, The Lives of Others.)

I understand the appeal, though. When I visited L.A. last year, I had a blast with friends at Bar Lubitsch, a red-tinged, white-tiled, retro-themed Communist-era bar. Under Constructivist posters, I socked back my share of Polish potato vodka. A retro patina makes anything fun to visit. I’d want to have a snack at one of these restaurants when I was in the former Eastern Bloc.

Plus, sometimes when I look at Dwell magazine, it resembles the Brutalist architecture of the Eastern Bloc more than anything else, as in this example from Everything becomes hip again, I guess.

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