[Marxism] GREAT MOVIE: The Lives of Others

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Feb 15 06:31:02 MST 2007

 From interview with director on NPR's Fresh Air show:

Mr. DAVIES: Now, I read that part of the inspiration for this story, 
and you wrote and directed this remarkable film, I read that part of 
the inspiration for the story was something that you read about 
Lenin, the Bolshevik revolutionary...

Mr. von DONNERSMARCK: Mm-hmm.

Mr. DAVIES: ...listening to a Beethoven sonata. Explain that moment 
and how it...

Mr. von DONNERSMARCK: Mm-hmm.

Mr. DAVIES: ...led to this idea.

Mr. von DONNERSMARCK: Lenin had few close personal friends, and one 
of his closet friends actually was Maxim Gorky, the Russian writer, 
and after Lenin's death, Gorky wrote that Lenin had once told him, 
actually the quote goes something like this" He says, `The 
"Appassionata" is my favorite piece of music,' Lenin says, `but I 
don't want to listen to it anymore because if I do listen to it, and 
when I do listen to it, it makes me want to stroke people's heads and 
tell them nice, stupid things. But I have to smash in those heads, 
bash them in without mercy in order to finish my revolution.'

And you know, I thought, `Aha, so this is what Lenin feels like. Now, 
let's see if I can find a way to force Lenin to listen to the 
"Appassionata."' And out of that I constructed this idea of a man 
just sitting there with earphones on his head and expecting that 
through these earphones he's going to hear words of his ideological 
enemies, but actually he's hearing music that is so beautiful that it 
actually makes him rethink that ideology. That was the basic idea for 
the film, and so Lenin changed into a Stasi officer who's sitting in 
a surveillance center monitoring people. And so who would be, you 
know, playing that kind of beautiful music if not artists? So I kind 
of knew that was going to be the basic setting, a Stasi officer 
monitoring artists and changing through that close proximity with them.  

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