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Cola in the German Democratic Republic. East German Fantasies on Western Consumption

  • Milena Veenis

Extract

Coca Cola is frequently used to signal the large-scale transformation from socialism to capitalism in eastern and middle Europe, which began in East Germany in the autumn of 1989. In the famous German Wende-movie Goodbye Lenin, the caffeinated drink figures prominently. The main character in this movie is a middle-aged woman who has fallen into coma during one of the mass demonstrations in Berlin, in November 1989. When she finally wakes up, about one year later, her country no longer exists. Her children successfully hide this fact from her, surrounding her with the material remnants of the past. One day, when she gets out of bed, she sees people attaching a huge banner of Coca Cola to the large flat in front of her apartment bloc. The scene marks the beginning of her awareness that the world in which she used to live is definitively gone.

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