The Movie ' The Lives Of Others ' By Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck Essay

The Movie ' The Lives Of Others ' By Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck Essay

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Following the Berlin Wall’s construction in the 1960’s, citizens within the East German state were under heavy surveillance from the Ministry for State Security, or the Stasi, in an attempt to “know everything about everyone.” Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the movie The Lives of Others follows one particular Stasi agent as he carries out his mission to gather information on a well-known writer and his lover. As the film progresses, the audience is able to detect the moral transformation of Stasi Captain Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler primarily through the director 's manipulation of the script, colors and lighting, and music.
While the script is often one of the greatest 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 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, the conversation held with the boy in the elevator (“What’s the name of your … ball?”), and the exchange he has with Christa-Maria about his being her “audience” and convincing her to return to Dreyman rather than remain with Minister Hempf. Along with Wiesler’s lacking dialogue, the character also becomes increasingly express...


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...riend,” the song only plays when Wiesler is acting in the interest of Dreyman rather than the Stasi. While the dramatic tune is subtler than the Sonata for a Good Man, both songs achieve the same result of revealing Wiesler’s changing allegiance.
A majority of stories on the silver screen are able to effectively reach the audience through the casting choices and the direction of the scenes. But when a director is able to utilize understated elements, including the mannerisms of the characters through the script, downplayed colors and illumination of the set and actors, and certain musical pieces to highlight pivotal moments in the story, a film can truly stand out among the rest. By using these minimized details as Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck did in his breakout film, the leading character was finally able to live through, as the title says, the lives of others.

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