Sunday, February 11, 2007

Das Leben der Anderen

Rockcastle, my oldest (no not in years), my longest (no not tallest) friend invited me to go catch a movie. She is more attuned to the joys in life, lives more in her body, whereas I live more in my head… She has a discerning taste in movies. Das Leben der Anderen is a film by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the 3 main actors are Martha Gedeck as the famous actress Christa Maria Sieland, Ulrich Mühe as the Stasi official Gerd Wiesler (magnificent!), Sebastian Koch as the writer Greorg Dreymann. The movie starts in 1984 a few years before the fall of the wall in Berlin at the end of the DDR period - the German Democratic Republic, aka Eastern Germany known for spying on their civilians, dissidents and of course as always on artists. The analogy between what is going in the USA today is flagrant in the fact that civil rights are trampled, that the rule of law is compromised all under the guise of protection, safety and anti-terrorism. In the GDR the tune was different, there the reason given was not to compromise the revolution - in reality it was about consolidating power and privileges. Whatever the reason, the rights of innocent citizens were non existent so they would confess to whatever the ‘Staatssicherheit’ wanted to hear. Real betrayals between friends, lovers were not uncommon. The hero is the dull, hardened prototype of a strict interrogator. The character seems bloodless, cold, efficient. In surveying a famous writer, he slowly develops feelings, respect and pays the price for it. The film takes you by surprise, makes you think and must give us hope, because when our mails are read, our phones listened too (all foreign calls?, incoming and outgoing?) that somewhere in that whole mess, there is a real human being who could not listen to the ‘Sonata of a Good Man’ and not be moved. So, go! Go, run to your car, drive an hour, two, three and go watch the movie or go look for it in the foreign section. You might find Das Leben der Anderen. La Vie des Autres because it won 4 prizes and had an Oscar nomination. 'The Life of Others' watch it and be moved by this smart, clean, perfectionist film with wonderful music.

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