The Lives of Others Essay

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Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film The Lives of Other’s (2005) is set in East Berlin during the socialist reign from November 1984, up until the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. The political context plays a significance role not only in the film’s subject matter but also in its cinematography, which exploits the voyeuristic tendencies of the audience, reflecting the surveillance of the Stasi Secret Police officers. The film follows a loyal socialist and playwright, Georg Dreyman who becomes subject (along with actor girlfriend Christa-Maria Sieland) to extensive Stasi surveillance due to his association with subversive artists such as Paul Hauser and Albert Jerska. Hauptman Gerd Weisler is the accomplished Stasi officer assigned to…show more content…
Similarly, Sieland stares into the bathroom mirror after a shower and taking her medication following her sexual encounter with Culture Minister Hempf as she attempts to uncover and justify her own life. Weisler has a very similar experience as he washes his face in front of the mirror before his experience with a prostitute. After Sieland’s initial allegations, Grubitz probes Weisler “Are you still on the right side?” This is accompanied by a mid shot followed by a swish pan to a close up Weisler in profile. Within the swish pan, the audience can briefly see the reflection of Grubitz in the mirror, although this registers as a blurry, ominous figure, which in turn creates a sense of the conversation being overlooked. The close up of Weisler’s face reveals an expression of nervousness and panic, whilst we hear off-screen Grubitz say “don’t screw it up again.” adding to this sense of omniscience. Supplementary to this, Grubitz becomes even more suspicious when he learns Weisler has left the interrogation swiftly, “Call Weisler for me! - Col. Weisler has left
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