Thursday, 2 January 2014

Das Leben der Anderen, a movie

I had SO promised myself to talk about marketing and marketing only. This blog would be consistent or would not be. 

But there you go. There are also ships that promise to sail - and then there's a storm. 

Like: a dignified movie, poetry in the 21st century, belief in the goodness of people:

All these are white elephants.   A little unexpected storm. Later on I can talk about marketing ad infinitum, possibly until I've bored everyone to death and for sure even until the day my own poem says: 'Das Ende'. So, yes, let's for once in a blue moon mention a movie. 

Who are the thousands of people who spy on us on a daily basis and what are they like? 

Do they just quickly flick through the images of security cameras? Do they never pay attention to our online behaviour unless there's some suspicion?  Or are eyes watching us? All the time or just now and again? Or hardly ever? 

It is to be hoped we can expect some integrity and benevolence (but let's not hold our breath).

It is The Story we all tell in our own lives: which road do we take at any given point? The excuse of duty, safety, 'it was an order', 'I risk my career' and so on - versus humanism, compassion, understanding, righteousness, dignity? 

Do we keep still - or do we jump to the aid, and how are our lives after that decision? 

In the 2006 movie 'Das Leben der Anderen' it is a Stasi captain who, in the DDR of 1984, has to eavesdrop possible enemies of the system. Day after day he and his headsit sit in a grey room to listen to 'the lives of others'.

When the movie starts the victim is a famous playwright. There's no reason at all for him to be a suspect, on the contrary, he is also famous for love of the system - but he has the bad luck that someone high up the ladder is in love with his girl friend. So something must be found to ensure an arrest and get him out of the way (the reason par excellence why we better never start with the death penalty). 

The rest you can discover yourself, you can imagine it: listening in opens a world to our Stasi agent. The love and integrity of the people he is spying on brings touches of colour in the dullness of his work and the society around him. The rabbit is morally high above the hawk.

The DDR might not have been the most depressing country in Europe, but definitely in the Top 3, and is brought back to life with much care for details: in a non-Hollywoodian way those details are atmosphere and behaviour rather than merely an obsession with the right props. 

Director and 30-something (at that moment) Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has made a calm movie, one that let's the message slip in between the seams, sometimes with a little exaggeration, sometimes wandering off in another direction - just as a pianist would do. 

One can't love perfection, only a face with a few imperfections and, maybe, a great big visible flaw too - and, yip, even at my age I still can't get any rest: again I have to change my Top 3 of favourite movies of all time, sigh. 


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