What You Need to Teach and Learn About The Film: Goodbye Lenin
Goodbye Lenin is an incredible film and one that should absolutely be studied by German language students. It is often taught as part of the German A-Level courses, as well as in German film modules at university.
In this blog post, I’m excited to share some invaluable Goodbye Lenin film teaching and learning resources that will help you to feel more confident in teaching it if you are an A-Level German teacher. Equally, you will feel more confident when studying it
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Have you watched Goodbye Lenin yet? If not, here’s a quick summary:
Goodbye Lenin Summary:
In October 1989, right before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Alex Kerner (Daniel Brühl) lives with his mother, Christiane (Kathrin Sass). As well as his sister, Ariane (Maria Simon). But when the mother, a loyal party member, sees Alex participating in an anti-communist rally, she falls into a coma. Consequently, missing the revolution and reunification. After she wakes up, doctors say any jarring event could lead her to have a heart attack. Therefore, the family, led by Alex, goes to great lengths to pretend communism still reigns in Berlin.
Lights, Camera, Goodbye Lenin!
I’ve curated a YouTube Goodbye Lenin Film playlist that’s not your average study aid. I’d class it as a cinematic adventure into the heart of Goodbye Lenin. From interviews with native speakers, including the director, Wolfgang Becker and key actors, such as Daniel Brühl, to trailers that should pique your interest. The YouTube playlist includes key scenes to unravel the linguistic nuances, this playlist is a goldmine for anyone studying or teaching the film: Goodbye Lenin.
A Copy of the Film
I find it odd how students need to study a film but how they aren’t provided with a copy of it. If you need a copy, then you could rent the film on Amazon Prime (although there are time restrictions on watching it). Alternatively, you could Purchase a Copy on DVD (if you still have a DVD player, of course!). Doing this will allow you to:
- Immerse yourself in authentic German dialogue and regional accents.
- Gain insights into German history and societal nuances relevant to the study of the film.
- Extract exam-worthy phrases and expressions to boost your vocabulary whilst watching.
I have been teaching Goodbye Lenin for many years. I also studied the film at the University of Nottingham (waaaaay back in 2003). So, let’s talk about the roadmap to exam success. Knowing the film inside out is key. So, firstly, watch the film and then study the film inside out by using revision guides.
My favourite for A-Level German is the HODDER Revision Guide. It is packed with targeted exercises, exam tips, and cultural context. A revision guide is designed to hone your skills and boost your confidence and this one absolutely does that. It contains key vocabulary on film techniques, characters, key scenes and historical and social context that will enhance your confidence.
If you are an A-Level German teacher looking for teaching materials, I’d also recommend the ZigZag Goodbye Lenin teaching material. You can access that here: https://zigzageducation.co.uk/synopses/7970-getting-to-know-goodbye-lenin?pod=7970 (it’s a bit pricey though!)
Remember, learning a language is not just about passing exams; it’s about unlocking doors to new cultures and perspectives. I feel that studying the film: Goodbye Lenin is an excellent way to do that.
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