Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Think Vivienne Westwood, Punks/Heavy Metal/Skinheads, and the Communist Regime: Comrade Couture

    After watching Comrade Couture at the Hong Kong International Film Festival last Friday, I immediately stopped at the nearest internet source and updated our vanillachymes twitter. The movie left me speechless about fashion and the lives of young adults in East Berlin in the 1980's. The director, Marco Wilms, was not only present at the movie screening, he also told us that he made this movie to remember the times he had, as a model in East Germany, living the life that would not have happened without the suppression of the Communist regime.

    1. Creativity: As I mentioned in the title of this entry, Vivienne Westwood is what comes to mind when I saw the clothes in Comrade Couture. It's everything from punk, rock, grunge, to amazing elaborate couture. What makes the clothes here even better? It's made of materials such as strawberry field foils, shower curtains with black and white stripes on it, and hospital bags (unused, no worries). Why? Because the Communist regime in East Germany spent all their money on the military and war weapons, there was no money left for fabrics and clothes! Designers put on shows in the streets, abandoned churches and TADA, there was a source of entertainment in a place was assumed to be just gloomy and grey.

    2. Living: In the film, Wilms interviewed many of his friends from his modeling days, his "wild" days in East Berlin. Many of them said without the times and the conditions of East Germany in the 1980's, they would not have lived the lives they had experienced. Were their lives different? Yes. But do they regret doing what they did? No. The photographers, stylists, and designers that generated the creativity in East Berlin would not have been able to done it without the situation they were in. Thanks to the Communist regime, money wasn't really a issue and they were able to do as they liked. In that period of time, they had really lived; they went to the parties, got caught by the police, and held shows that stunned the media. Their source of creativity is something that we really can't find again today.

    3. Politics: A lot of the question to Wilms after the movie screening were about politics and the Communist regime in East Germany. But Wilms took note to include that there was no grudge against the political regime. The young adults behind this "underground" fashion scene were not rebels; they were not targeting against the government or the secret police. Instead, the government was after them. And some of them fled as a result of this. However, even with leaving East Germany to the West, to the United States, they realized that their desire to be free was truly instilled in them in East Berlin. And with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of East Germany, the childhood home of Wilms and his friends had vanished.

    Nonetheless, this movie is a definite "must-go-to" if it's showing in theaters nearby. I was so absorbed about the whole Communist crack-down atmosphere and the wild almost-Lady-Gaga-like style in the film that I had to buy a copy of the dvd for the numerous times I'll be re-watching it! Plus, the moment I heard "extra photos" and "extra fashion show" clips, my hand automatically snatched a copy and put down the money for a dvd. I went home with dvd in hand and a heart full of content :)

    Since Jeisa's added video clips to her last two entries, let me try this out too! Here's the trailer for Comrade Couture and it's probably the best way for anyone interested to get a glimpse of movie for themselves :

    All for now,


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