My first recollection watching this, as someone who grew up as a kid in East Berlin, is that in communism people did not use to share their inner thoughts and feelings, certainly not publicly but also not with their families either. It truly was like growing up inside a jail. Heart to heart talk could hurt you. As such, sometimes you just had to best-guess the mind of your spouse, child, or friend. If you had higher hopes for your life, then you had to better hide them; paranoia was a useful method to shield your sanity from the surreal world around you. Socialism collapsed while the kid's mother was in the hospital. Believing that his mother had been a true believer in socialism, and afraid that she will have a mortal shock if she woke up to find out that her beloved East Germany had vanished, went to great lengths to protect her emotions by hiding the truth about the momentous events. He went to devise an elaborate plan to carry on a cathartic lifestyle inside the apartment during her recovery. Knowing that his mother's only connection to the outside world during her recovery would be thru the TV set, he set up a makeshift news studio at a friend's home to record fake news reels on VHS tapes with his friend playing the anchor part; the news turned out very realistic, bland, boring, colorless, touting agricultural and industrial successes under the leadership of the communist party, but it sometimes required imagination, in a silly sort of way, to explain to his confused mother why a Coca-Cola advertisement appeared on the side of a neighboring apartment building that his mother could see from her bedside - in Communism there was no such thing as commercial billboard advertisements, and certainly not of Western products. Son "explains" that somehow Coca-Cola was invented in East Germany. In the end, to her son's surprise (and of the viewers') it is revealed that is for the best part of her life, his mother harbored thoughts of defection out of East Germany, in spite of the fact that she appeared to be the picture-perfect image of a faithful socialist woman. Following her husband's defection to West Germany a few years back, she publicly condemned his defection and thus she became a darling of the communist government, by proving that her faith in socialism was stronger than her family ties. However, fully recovered now, she confides to her son that all that was a lie, and that she was no different than anyone else living inside the big socialist pretense. The truth was that both his parents had wanted all along to defect out of East Germany until the opportunity arrived for the father to leave to West Germany on official travel; we find out that the plan was that following his defection, he would somehow establish himself financially, then the rest of the family would go on to formally request leaving East Germany on "family reunification" grounds. The viewer may not know that the "fee" for officially departing the East was significant, on average about DM10,000, several times that in East German Marks (about one year's income of a well-to-do), but the most difficult part of this process was the fact that putting in the request to leave the country would automatically make you a pariah in the society, at work, shun by the neighbors and friends too afraid to be seen associating themselves with you, interrogations by the Stasi, the pressure was enormous and it could have taken many years. A family I know waited over 20 years for their visa. Thus, a mother had to balance what was best for her son; take her chances to start a new life, which may take years of persecution by the state, or play along for the sake of relative safety. It was a common dilemma and his mother chose a common solution during those days. Having second thoughts under peer pressure, fear of the unknown, a sense of duty, the newly found popularity with the government, which afforded her (and her son) some perks, all contributed to her change of mind and she chose the relative safety of the socialist road and stayed behind. Risk aversion has been the rationalization of millions who were taken hostage to socialism. There is no sadder thing in life other than a bird which decides not to take the chance at flying. Therefore, my personal experiences will never allow me to lay back and enjoy the "tender love" of a son towards his mother. Lying for the sake of Love; to lie to someone to keep them alive, or to kill someone by speaking the truth; some choices! What if she would not have recovered from her heart attack? Would you rather die not knowing? You decide. To me, a day of freedom is worth more than a lifetime of lies. I just see one more of the many fading ripples that the Soviet communist era left behind.
This movie it's artful; it excites and incites personal emotions, which what art is supposed to do. We are all different to some degree. My moral takeaway from this story is not to let the small crumbs of survival thrown at you in life like peanuts to a monkey, sway you from going after the harder to reach, bigger dreams, and maybe in the process try to rely a little less on what you see or hear on TV.