“Generation 25: Children of German Reunification” explores the lives of individuals in “Generation 25,” or the generation of 25-year-old people in Germany. These individuals were born when the Berlin Wall was destroyed in 1989 and grew up during the country’s reunification. These individuals also grew up during the “technological revolution” and seem relatively comfortable using technology to pursue their goals. This documentary explores how Generation 25’s development during these two historical events impacts these individuals’ current life perspectives and values.
I found the diversity in characters’ occupations and life experiences fascinating. As a 22-year-old, I anticipated seeing recently-graduated young people starting out on their career paths in office settings. I initially thought that these people would seem eager to make a difference in the world, even as they struggle with figuring out their own identity. While I did see parts of my expectations in the film’s characters, I was pleasantly surprised to see the various ways that Generation 25 individuals reflected these expectations. One man who was studying to become a priest eloquently voiced his views on his decision to choose an “alternative lifestyle”: pursuing priesthood and maintaining vows of chastity, obedience, and loyalty. A woman whose parents immigrated from Turkey spoke of navigating her Turkish and German identities, which I clearly relate to as a Filipina-American woman.
Filmmakers illustrate the diversity of characters through shots of characters’ residences and daily lives. Filmmakers seemed to choose each character intentionally, as each character seems to bring their own unique experience to the film. To highlight the unique personalities and stories of each character, filmmakers chose to use more natural sounds than music. This technique allowed viewers to focus on characters’ stories. They also accompanied characters’ stories with facts and surveys of Generation 25’s perspectives, adding credibility to characters’ experiences and putting them in a larger perspective. Filmmakers were also intentional about the film’s plot. They highlighted the differences and struggles in Germany today, such as race and East-West stereotypes, through characters’ stories, yet they attempted to convey a positive and optimistic note to the future. At the film’s conclusion, filmmakers showed shots of parts of the Berlin Wall that people today use as art.
One of the film’s major drawbacks is translation. All of the characters’ German dialogue was translated into English. Although I could still understand characters’ viewpoints, I feel that captions without spoken translation would have been more effective in conveying characters’ viewpoints. Otherwise, as an Anthropology major with little knowledge of Germany’s Generation 25, I found this documentary fairly informative and engaging.