Speech - Lives of Others and Stasiland
Anna Funder’s book Stasiland and Donnersmark’s film The Lives of Others both discuss the Stasi’s oppression of the people in West Berlin during the time of the Berlin Wall. The composers depict light and darkness both literally through various techniques and metaphorically through mutual themes. These implementations of light and dark revolve around the concept of secret histories, which refer to the Stasi regime being hidden in darkness during its rule, and subsequently it’s revelation to the rest of the world after the wall fell. Darkness in correspondence to the themes loss of humanity and control is portrayed through the use of pathetic fallacy, ambiguousness due to lighting angles and spotlights highlighting specific aspects of people’s lives. Light is conveyed through the themes identity and hope demonstrated using pathetic fallacy and an abundance of natural lighting.
Darkness in the texts is a literal and metaphorical expression of how the corrupt Stasi regime oppressed their history through control in correspondence to the paternalistic actions and observations made by the Stasi and inhumanity due to the actions of the Stasi, the lack of quality of life due to the wall and Stasi’s regime and the characteristics of people due to their treatment and personality.
In Stasiland control and inhumanity are shown through the abuse of power from the Stasi. The impetuous punishments and paternalistic behavior demonstrate the oppression shown by the Stasi. This is demonstrated by the didactic and imperative line “You are not unemployed! You are seeking employment” and the oxymoron “we are here to inform you that you no longer exist.” These ridiculous and unreasonable commands emphasize the complete domineering system ruled by the Stasi. The opening scene when funder is walking through Alexanderplatz station and sees a woman selling items such as tampons, condoms and other personals in her cart