10 thoughts on “The Lives of Others”

  1. I saw this film recently and found it absorb­ing and mov­ing. (see Petrona, some­where). At risk of a spoil­er and being wrong (because my memory is hope­less), I did not think it was the music alone that caused the con­ver­sion, but the com­bin­a­tion of that with the death of the char­ac­ter — wasn’t that death (and the man­ner of it) the tip­ping point for action?

    Thanks for the lit­er­al trans­la­tion of the title — that makes much more sense, and is much more poet­ic, too. We edit­ors appre­ci­ate the enorm­ous dif­fer­ence one little word can make, even if we don’t always read German!

  2. Eric, excel­lent. You’re won’t be dis­ap­poin­ted!

    Maxine, my memory of the film is fad­ing a bit (I wrote this review early last week) — but didn’t The Death hap­pen quite towards the end of the film? I thought his con­ver­sion had already come by that point. Still, I didn’t think it was a major prob­lem any­way.

  3. I also enjoyed this film, though found it marred by a cer­tain heavy-handed sen­ti­ment­al­ity. The con­trast of oppos­ites — lush vs. bare and sterile flat, tender love­mak­ing vs. pros­ti­tute, for example — was a bit too ste­reo­typed as well. Interesting aside: it was viewed as a class pro­ject by my son, who attends school in the former Stasi realm (Dresden).

    Ian, you’re cor­rect about the trans­la­tion of the title. The life/lives of oth­ers (no ‘the’) would nor­mally read: das Leben anderer/von ander­en.

  4. Thanks for your com­ment, John. Down this way — in Exeter — the options for see­ing good for­eign films are lim­ited, so I try to see them as they turn up.

    Lee, there was a cer­tain heavy-handed­ness to it, def­in­itely. Interesting that your son saw it at school. The ques­tion that every­one seems to ask them­selves is ‘Where are these people now?’

  5. Ian, I’ve just this moment received the pro­gramme for my daughter’s class trip to Berlin from a school near Bonn/Cologne to dis­cov­er that one whole day will be devoted to the NS and Stasi past, includ­ing vis­its to the former Stasi pris­on and to the Stasi museum. I’ll ask my daugh­ter if they dis­cuss the ques­tion of where these people are now.

  6. Wow, I’m very jeal­ous, Lee! I’d be inter­ested to read on your blog what she found out.

  7. OK, maybe I’ll get her to do a guest post. She’s 16 and very polit­ic­ally and his­tor­ic­ally inclined (much more so than her ignor­ant mum). After the first week in June, then.

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