What Can’t You Live Without?… “Friendship”

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“Friendship” is a movie about two German friends flying to America and their adventure from New York to San Francisco.  Now, if you don’t know German it can be very hard to follow along because the entire movie is in German, but overall, the movie is really funny and entertaining.

The DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik)

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the DDR (East Germany) and West Germany reunited in 1990. After about 10 years movies started coming out that reflected on the time before the Berlin wall fell and how East Germans lived. I’m estimating that this movie, which came out in 2009, was based on the time period of March 1990. Although it was made over ten years after the Berlin Wall fell, it reflects back on the reunification of Germany in a humorous way.  A couple German words that describe this context are “Ostagie” and “Nostalgie”, or feelings of nostalgia for life as it was in the DDR.

The movie is really funny and to an American audience who wouldn’t know much about Germany’s history it would still be a funny Friendship-Szenenbild-1movie, but it also includes key references that reflect on old traditions of East Germany that an American might miss.

The movie critiques the socialist structure of the DDR, including the concept of “Alle gleich”, or “all equal”. While the main characters, Tom and Veit, are growing up in East Germany there is a scene where Tom describes everything as “Alle gleich.” Tom and Veit hate the Stasi, the East German secret police, because they are freelancers and don’t like the rules in East Germany.  The scenes depicting their childhood show a lot of uniformity and oppression in a socialist society.

There are of course critiques of capitalism when they go to America. There is a homeless man in the first place they land in New York.  In East Germany you wouldn’t see homeless people because of its social security structure. Another critique of capitalism is when Tom has a toothache and can barely afford to get it fixed.  In this scene Tom is frustrated because he says that everything costs money here and it is hard to live.  In East Germany he wouldn’t have had the issue of barely being able to afford to get his teeth fixed. Another obvious critique of Americans is that they are portrayed as ignorant.  There are many characters who were made to exemplify ignorance, including the mayor, the police, and the Tennessee sisters.

Review

I feel as though this movie shows true friendship because of the way the movie ended.  Tom follows Veit through thick and thin, living on the streets of America with barely any money. I also really liked the small details that reflect critiques of socialism vs. capitalism throughout the movie. According to the German review site Movie Pilot, critics gave this movie a 6.5 and I would agree with that, because while it is very funny, it is not the best movie ever made.  The ending is very unexpected, but I think it would have been a lot more entertaining if Veit had meet his father. I think Fibel’s comment on Movie Pilot sums the movie up well: “Das ist Kunst! Kinokunst!”

The Official Website of the movie”Friendship”