The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen, Germany, 2006)

Humanising the inhuman

Humanising the inhuman

It was no surprise that The Lives of Others should win an Oscar: technically proficient, superbly acted and humanist whilst bashing the ‘commies’. It is a gripping thriller but, as Anna Funder points out in Sight & Sound (May ’07) utterly ridiculous. The Stasi member who is humanised by music and a poem by Brecht! Great to think so: play that music to Bush!

Funder, who’s book Stasiland (2004) is excellent, also points out that the Stasi are currently trying to rehabilitate themselves and so this sympathetic portrayal of a member of that organisation is politically dubious to say the least. But the film’s excellent for the reasons cited above and who wouldn’t want to believe that art can humanise a monstrous system? Well, those who run that system I suppose.

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