[Marxism] GREAT MOVIE: The Lives of Others

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Thu Feb 15 06:17:06 MST 2007


Walter quotes ( a description of the plot of "The Lives of Others" ):

> As ferrety as his name, Wiesler is the
> quintessential Stasi agent (...)
> 
> Acting on orders from Bruno Hempf, a highly placed and overstuffed
> government minister, he plants a whole nest of bugs in the apartment
> of playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch). A non-subversive writer
> with a reputation for toeing the line, Dreyman lives comfortably with
> his actress-girlfriend Christa (Martina Gedeck), (...)
> The fat minister Hempf has a distinctly non-political
> motive for besmirching the writer, and her name is Christa — he wants
> the celebrated actress out of the playwright's bed and into his own.
> Christa is frightened, and a frightened Christa proves compliant.
> 

I have not seen the film, so I cannot say anythink about its artistic value. But the plot is totally incredible. The Stasi was a political tool and used as such, sometimes stupidly, but still with political aims.

No minister - how powefull he might have been - could have used a Stasi agent to advance his narrow personal sexual desires. The GDR and with it its secret service was highly bureaucratized, any step that was taken had to be noted in a file and be revised by a supervizor.

Noone outside the chain of command could give any commands to a Stasi officer to start a spy operation. So the whole point of departure of that film is totally unrealistic. He needed a Westerner with his superficial ideas about live in East Germany to write such a plot.

Afterall it is a apolitical film. On the one hand it demonizes the Stasi (as the willing tool in the hands of a corrupt bureaucrat) and on the other hand it trivalizes it (not showing the Stasi as a politcal tool of the state). As such "The Life of Others" perfectly matches the hollow political discussion about the GDR in present day Germany. Demonization on the one hand and depoliticazation on the other hand.

Johannes 
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