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Caroline Moine

La Vie des autres (2006) : espion de la Stasi ou héros ordinaire?

Le Temps des médias n°16, Printemps 2011, p. 118-133.

The movie The Lives of others, by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, released in Germany in 2006, was a great international success. Indeed, millions of people around the world have been captivated by the story, in 1980, of the complex relationship between a spy from the Stasi (the GDR’s political police) and the playwright who is under his surveillance. The effictive media campaign that promoted its release presented it as the first fictional film to show the real daily life in the GDR of the time. Nonetheless, The Lives of others was fiercely criticized by several specialists of the field. Therefore it is interesting to look further into the arguments of both sides to try to assess the credibility of the fictional representation of the Stasi’s system of surveillance and repression and of how a spy, a persecutor, was changed into a good man. Beyond the issue of the movie’s truthfulness from an historian’s point of view, the film’s success raises the difficult question of the importance of the Stasi in the collective memory as well as in the memory of the GDR nowadays. DrapeauFrancais

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