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Film Analysis: The Lives Of Others

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Within the German Democratic Republic, there was a secret police force known as the Stasi, which was responsible for state surveillance, attempting to permeate every facet of life. Agents within and informants tied to the Stasi were both feared and hated, as there was no true semblance of privacy for most citizens. Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the movie The Lives of Others follows one particular Stasi agent as he carries out his mission to spy on a well-known writer and his lover. As the film progresses, the audience is able to see the moral transformation of Stasi Captain Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler primarily through the director 's use of the script, colors and lighting, and music.
While the script is often one of the most crucial elements in a film, the brevity of speech and precise movements of the primary character accentuate the changing nature of his integrity. As viewers follow Captain Wiesler of the East German secret police, it is soon clear that he only says what is necessary, such as when noting his surveillance partner’s lateness or setting instructions for the surveillance bugging team (“twenty minutes”). It is important to note that Wiesler does not say a single word when Axel Stiegler cracks a joke in the cafeteria about Honecker, or when Grubitz himself makes a joke. Only
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when Wiesler begins to actually live through Dreyman and Christa-Maria’s life does he begin to speak more freely, evidenced by his weakly asking the prostitute to stay, his conversation with the boy in the elevator (“What’s the