From the pages of German history

From the pages of German history


The Lives of Others’, a German movie, was screened recently at the Bangalore International Centre and received a good response from the audience. The movie, released in 2006, is a political thriller and human drama.

The movie begins in East Berlin in 1984, five years before Glasnost and the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately takes the audience to 1991, in what is now a reunited Germany. The film traces the gradual disillusionment of Captain Gerd Wiesler, a highly skilled officer and an agent for the Stasi, East Germany’s Secret Police.

Weisler carefully investigates people who might cause some threat to the state. Shortly after Weisler’s former classmate, Lieutenant Colonel Grubitz, invites him to a theatrical piece by celebrated East German playwright Georg Dreyman, minister Bruno Hempf informs him that he suspects Dreyman of political disharmony, and wonders if he is really a renowned patriot.

As it turns out, Hempf has something of an ulterior motive for trying to put something on Dreyman; a deep-seated infatuation with Christa-Maria Sieland, Dreyman’s girlfriend.
Nevertheless, Grubitz, who is anxious to further his career, appoints Weisler to spy on the gentleman with his help.

Weisler plants listening devices in Dreyman’s apartment and begins shadowing the writer. As Weisler monitors Dreyman’s daily life, he discovers that the writer is one of the few East Germans who genuinely believes in his leaders.

This changes over time, however, as Dreyman discovers that Christa-Maria is being blackmailed into a sexual relationship with Hempf, and one of Dreyman’s friends, stage director Albert Jerska, is driven to suicide after himself being blackballed by the government.

Dreyman’s loyalty thus shifts away from the East German government, and he anonymously posts an anti-establishment piece in a major newspaper which rouses the fury of government officials. Meanwhile, Weisler becomes deeply emotionally drawn into the lives of Dreyman and Sieland, and becomes something of an anti-establishment figure himself, embracing freedom of thought and expressions.

It was a gripping with strong storyline. The excitement and the thrill was obvious on faces of the audience as the twists and turns happened in the movie. Said Sripriya M, a member of the audience, “It was such a thrilling and fast-paced movie that I kept wondering what would happen next. It was a real treat for me.”

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