Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Busting stereotypes

Another best foreign film Oscar winner, The Lives of Others, was the offering today. It details the situation of an artist, Georg Dreyman, under the communist dictatorship of the erstwhile state of East Germany. Dreyman is a writer of “subversive” plays and is dubbed a right-winger by the government. The movie portrays a hopeless situation in which Dreyman’s actor wife, the beautiful Christa-Maria, is forced to partake in a sexual relationship with the Minister of Arts—so that her family is not ruined. At the other end of the spectrum is Hauptmann who listens in to everything that goes on in the Dreyman household, thanks to a technique that was much in use in communist regimes—wiretapping. In spite of knowing that Dreyman is the writer of a strongly critical article against the DDR, he does not let it out and in the process, compromises his career. Hauptmann (played by Ulrich Mühe, in the pic) is drawn out as a left-wing fanatic, who would let nothing come in the way of his service to the National Security. But why he decides to overturn his faith is a question worth pondering. Did he fall for Christa-Maria’s charms? Was he seduced by the couple’s love? Did the hopelessness of their situation change him? You decide. Elegant, understated, powerful: that’s Das Leben der Anderen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Intriguing questions you raise indeed, about Hauptmann's motives. Do I sense a hidden Hamlet somewhere behind the stoic, Teutonic exterior? What in his case could be the tragic flaw that certain Shakespearian characters are endowed with, I wonder. Did he succumb to Christa-Maria's charms? Or did he have an axe to grind with the Minister of Arts? The bit about being seduced by the couple's love of course raises disturbing possibilities about the artist's role in the whole context.
Must say, can't wait to see the film.