Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Germany lauds film's portrait of communist East's brutality | The World | The Australian

By Aussiegirl

Germany has taken another step in grappling with the darkness of its eastern communist past. By the way, "Goodbye, Lenin" is a charming and thought-provoking film. I'll definitely be looking for this new one on DVD when it's available.

Germany lauds film's portrait of communist East's brutality | The World | The Australian

A GRITTY and emotionally intense story about a disillusioned Stasi secret policeman has scooped all the major prizes in the German Film Awards and stoked a debate about how the country should digest the communist legacy of the East.
Das Leben der Anderen (The Life of Others), directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, won a record seven Lolas - the German equivalent of the Oscars - prompting critics and politicians at the weekend to predict the end of Ostalgia, the term for the soft-focused, sentimental view of East Germany that has set the tone for a decade.

From feelgood films such as Goodbye, Lenin! to fan clubs for the former East Germany's beloved Trabant car, the communist state has been presented as absurd, misunderstood or amusingly camp.

"At last we have a film that shows the East German state was not some kind of comedy show," said Vera Lengsfeld, a former dissident who is now a Christian Democratic politician.

After Germany reunited 16 years ago, she learned that her husband had been spying on her for the Stasi. "I know from my own experience how police surveillance systematically destroys the personality. It is relentless and merciless," she said.

The film depicts an agent who is ordered to bug the book-lined Berlin apartment of a young couple, an actress and a writer.

The order has come down from a minister who covets the actress and wants the relationship destroyed. The Stasi man is drawn to the couple and feels disgust at his work.

Communism, argues the director, caused real psychological harm and it is time Germany acknowledged the brutality of the regime. "Just because people don't have scars to show doesn't mean that they escaped injury," Donnersmarck said.

In the film, the Stasi agent is played by Ulrich Muhe, who in real life was married to a Stasi informant.


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