Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Das Struggle

When I was but a young struggle, innocent and naive, filled with the flush of youth (so, you know, two years ago) I spent some time in Russia, eating blini and pilmeni and looking for a motivation, as one does. And during my time in the artist formerly known as the Soviet Union, I had to take a film class on Russian cinema, which was very good, very bad, and now is very good again, because such is life in a system in which the FILM watches YOU! But of the good and bad and straight up bizarre Russian cinema I watched every Saturday morning for three months while outside, you know, snow happened, one of my personal favorites has to be The Fall of Berlin. Now, this is not a good film. This is in fact a terrible film, it's cliched, it's pure propaganda, and every single person in the movie is in love with Joseph Stalin, girls, boys, farm animals, everyone. But despite the fact that this is terribly acted, directed and filmed, and believe me, it is, this movie is just hilarious. Leah, you ask, how can a Soviet propaganda film, made after the Great Patriotic War, featuring one of Stalin's favorite Stalin impersonators (you read that right, he had several), a love story between a steel worker and a teacher (a marriage of labor and education), which portrays Hitler as a crazy McCrazy, Eva as a ho and a half, and the United States as a German ally be hilarious? Well, did you read that last sentance? Um, yeah, I think I just explained it perfectly. Picture "Springtime for Hitler" but without the irony. Yes, that's it. What's not to love?

So why am I bringing this up now, one might ask? Well, here's the thing, strange as this may sound, whenever I think about Berlin, I think about this movie, which, at the very least, is just SO unfair to Berlin, and more then a little weird for me. But in just two days time I'll be leaving the peaceful and beautiful city of Hamburg for busy and bustling Berlin for a night, which I'm expecting to be just the way it is in another propaganda piece, though this one is less beef borsch and more apple pie.

Now, if you ask around, most people who come to visit Germany don't look to Hamburg as a vacation destination. It's famous red-light district is more slimy then sexy, and since some boy band played here back in the 60's it hasn't exactly been the center of the music world. But the truth is that Hamburg is a graceful and interesting city, and the wealth it's citizens amassed during Hamburg's heyday at the end of the last century means that the city hall is a gaudy gorgeous little overcompensation for whatever was lacking in the lives (and pants) of Hamburg's then prominent merchant class. Moreover, Hamburg  to this day remains a shopper's paradise, and if the exchange rate didn't cause me physical pain you can bet I'd have accumulated enough for a second suitcase by now. Sadly I've had to restrain myself to art postcards purchased at the Kunsthalle, Hamburg's Expressionist-heavy art museum. And, you know, some H and M. What? I have needs!

So I will indeed be sad to say goodbye to Hamburg, but I can't say I'm not excited spend a day in Berlin. After all, I've had hamburgers from the best. I can't help but be excited to be a jelly donut for a little while.

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