Saturday, September 22, 2007

Das Leben der Anderen, Other People’s Lives

Das Leben der Anderen

The day before the wall fell down in 1989 really does not seem so long ago, but watching Das Leben der Anderen (2006) made it seem both infinitely long ago and only yesterday. In many ways, it really was a simpler age. You had East and West, watching each other's every moves with the conventional state apparatus of armies, secret services, government and realpolitik diplomacy. Das Leben der Anderen reminded me both of this and just how horrible the world behind Churchill's Iron Curtain had to be so that it might maintain its charade of success. Now it seems as if we are the new GDR surveying our lives to maintain our charade but who we are monitoring is without any conventional state apparatus and such an asymmetry is untenable. I am not saying anything novel or profound. I am only sharing the feelings that the above film evoked in me. Not as subtle nor as heart rending as early Kieslowski, it is still an example of film making that makes a mockery of just about everything I saw this year in the cinema. Der Untergang, the fictional account of the last days of Hitler's reign, is the only other film I can remember having recently seen to possess the same power.