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‘The Lives of Others’: Important over-arching themes • The transformative nature of art. • The human condition and what it means to be a good Human Being. • Hope that society and people can change.
The transformative power of art This is a theme of enormous importance in the film, made so by the central characters who are artists themselves. However, it is the protagonist Wiesler, who we see is truly transformed through the power of art. It was a quotation by Lenin that in fact inspired the director Von Donnersmark to visualise the story for ‘The Lives of Others’. “I know nothing that is greater than the Appassionata I'd like to listen to it every day It is marvelous superhuman music.” … "But I can't listen to music too often. It affects your nerves, makes you want to say stupid nice things, and stroke the heads of people who could create such beauty while living in this vile hell. And now you must not stroke anyone's head: you might get your hand bitten off. You have to hit them on the head, without any mercy, although our ideal is not to use force against anyone.” Vladimar Lenin The artist is the antenna of the race." Ezra Pound There is no must in art because art is free."Wassily Kandinsky We feel sorry for those who have the power to speak for art, and do not. We feel sorry for those whose souls are deaf to the voice of art. WASSILY KANDINSKY
Music ‘Sonata for a Good Man’ –original music composed for the film by Gabriel Yared. This is given to Dreyman by Jerska on his 40th birthday. Dreyman plays this music on the piano when he hears of Jerska suicide. As he plays, we see Wiesler in the roof listening. The camera pans around his face, allowing us to see a tear down one check. He is moved not only by the music that Dreyman is playing but by the way in which he is mourning for his friend. IMPT: Beethoven’s Appassionata is never actually played in the soundtrack of the film; however, when Dreyman finishes playing ‘Sonata for a Good Man’ he references a famous quote by Lenin saying if he'd kept listening to Beethoven's Appassionata he'd never have finished the revolution. Then Dreymanasks, "Can anyone who has heard this music, I mean truly heard it, really be a bad person?” It is like he is speaking directly to Wiesler. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r9W-FjyYss
Stelldich mitten in ten Regen By Bayon place yourself in the middle of the rainbelieve in the blessing of its dropsspin yourself in its whirringand try to be good place yourself in the middle of the windbelieve in it and be a childlet the storm come into youand try to be good place yourself in the middle of the firebelieve in its monstrosityin the red wine of the heartand try to be good Throughout this track we see all three main character, Dreyman, Wiesler and CMS, ‘trying to be good’. - Dreyman begins writing the Spiegel article speaking out against the GDR suicide statistics - Wiesler writes his own version of the ‘play’ for the GDR anniversary that he has invented to cover for Dreyman - CMS chooses to stay with Dreyman instead of meeting Hempf. While both of them are in bed she says ‘Now I am wholly yours’.
What words would you use to describe this music? Think about instrument, tone, key, pitch, tempo What emotive response does it cause you to feel as the audience?
Literature Brecht: Bartol Brecht was a German writer who wrote a play called ‘The Good Person of Szechwan’ about a prostitute who tries to live a morally good life. Jerska is reading a collection of Brecht poetry at Dreyman’s 40th. Wiesler steals this from Dreyman’s apartment after he has witnessed the love between Dreyman and CMS when Dreyman discovers her relationship with Minister Hempf. We see a close-up birdseye shot of Wiesler reclining on his couch, reading Brecht’s poetry. We see the hard lines of the furniture design in contrast with his soft facial expression and relaxed body language. The lines of the poems he reads is about love and we see that he craves the human closeness that is lacking in his life.
1 On a certain day in the blue-moon month of September Beneath a young plum tree, quietly I held her there, my quiet, pale beloved In my arms just like a graceful dream. And over us in the beautiful summer sky There was a cloud on which my gaze rested It was very white and so immensely high And when I looked up, it had disappeared. 2 Since that day many, many months Have quietly floated down and past. No doubt the plum trees were chopped down And you ask me: what's happened to my love? So I answer you: I can't remember. And still, of course, I know what you mean But I honestly can't recollect her face I just know: there was a time I kissed it. 3 And that kiss too I would have long forgotten Had not the cloud been present there That I still know and always will remember It was so white and came from on high. Perhaps those plum trees still bloom And that woman now may have had her seventh child But that cloud blossomed just a few minutes And when I looked up, it had disappeared in the wind. -Bertolt Brecht, “Remembrances of Marie A.,“ in Die Hauspostille (1927) (S.H. transl.)
Quotations about the power of art by Visual Artists. “The artist is the antenna of the race." Ezra Pound There is no must in art because art is free."Wassily Kandinsky ‘We feel sorry for those who have the power to speak for art, and do not. We feel sorry for those whose souls are deaf to the voice of art’. WASSILY KANDINSKY