German filmmakers are making films depicting life during the 40-year existence of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, the DDR, East Germany. Apparently, it’s a space that has been left vacant for the most part. To quote an NPR review of a recent film, Barbara, a German entry for the Oscars,
“The West kind of got there and said, ‘Now you can be happy.’ … I mean it’s 40 years of their lives. … They can’t be in vain. And no one asked.”
I’ve seen two films about life in the former East Germany after it was “former,” when the life was the life after the fall of the totalitarian Communist regimes in Eastern Europe: Schulze Gets the Blues and Goodbye Lenin.
Barbara is the first film I’ve watched from the Eastern point of view about how people managed during those 40 years on the other side of the fence. At the time, no one on this side of the fence imagined they’d ever be a former enemy.