The Live of My Grandfather Clock

Topics: The Lives of Others, Government, Film Pages: 5 (1716 words) Published: May 8, 2011
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The Live of Others Analysis

Gerd Weisler (Ulrich Muhe), a staunch supporter of Socialism, is a interrogation expert who uses unusual methods of coercion to breakdown the suspects. He’s appointed by the Ministry of Culture and Arts to spy on a popular playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) and his lover Christa-Maria (Martina Gedeck). A wiretapping expert by profession, Weisler with the help of Statsi agents puts Dreyman’s apartment under complete surveillance and everyday he begins his strenuous job of listening to the suspects’ conversations and reporting them to his superiors. Over a period of time, he begins to empathize with the situation of the writers and he becomes increasingly compassionate towards them. Untill one day, when all hell breaks loose and… First things first, I had read about this film couple of years ago and the curiosity to watch this film just doubled after it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign language film in 2007. Earlier this year, I was disappointed for having missed this film at a film festival and finally the long wait culminated in the first week of June, 2009. The day I saw the film, I realised why this film figures in the Top 10 films of 2007 list of many critics. It’s so damn brilliant, period! One of my friends even told me that a lot of people were clapping in the cinema hall when it was screened in Chennai, India. That’s an unusual and overwhelming reception for a foreign film especially in India. Coming back to the movie, as the story unfolds Weisler is shown as a cold hearted, staunch supporter of Socialist-Communist Government who is hell bent on proving that the playwright has been plotting against the regime. But when he realises what the community of writers have been scheming he becomes increasingly sympathetic to their idelogies and even goes to the extent of protecting them from all forms of danger. One of the landmark scenes of the film has absolutely no dialogues. And all it has is Weisler paying attention to a Sonatawhich Dreyman plays on his piano when the latter comes to know about his friend, Jerska’s death. This scene will continue to haunt me for as long as I can remember this movie for several reasons, namely: 1. The music comes straight from Dreyman’s instant reaction upon receiving the news about his friend’s death. This melts Weisler’s heart who’s secretly listeningto the music. You can look into his eyes and tell that he’s deeply affected. 2. The once impenetrable and cold hearted Weisler suddenly seems vulnerable. 3. This scene show that despite the mask we wear for the outside world, there’s certain amount of sympathy, heart & soul in all of us. 4. This single scene sets the tempo for what turns out to be a masterpiece. 5. Despite not having even a single line of dialogue this is probably one of the bestscenes in the whole movie….all the emotions are brought to life by the remarkableperformance of Weisler and Dreyman. On the other hand, Dreyman who does have anti-socialist ideologies is wary about the government’s decision to ban his work. His dilemma is best explained in his dialogue with his lover, Christa-Maria on more than one occasion. Initially Dreyman doesn’t care about the Government’s decision is and proclaims that he will continue to write. But Christa Maria convinces him saying that his work needs people and their support and if his work is banned then there will not be any purpose to his life. Dreyman’s life and his ambitions change when his friend, Jerska commits suicide. With the help of few of his friends, Dreyman plans to write an article on the record number of suicides of his countrymen and fellow writers which are marked as deaths due to natural causes in the government’s records. This number, as we are told, is only surpassed by those in Hungary. When his article is finally published, the survillence on him increases manifold. He slowly realises that Maria is having an affair with the minister much to his despair....
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