MAS Story Writers Blog

THEMES

Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on November 14, 2009

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall,  i have selected the following films.  Watch them.

THE LIVES OF OTHERS

1984, East Germany.  A Stasi (secret police) officer conducts surveillance on an artist and his lover, finding himself drawn into their lives.  I love the central scene (and inspiration for this film) that pits a man sent to crush subversive elements to the State, finding himself being subverted.  Here, the director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, explains where that scene came from and the inspiration for his film:

“… the idea for the movie came to him when he was trying to come
up with a movie scenario for a film class. As he listened to a piece
of music, he recalled Maxim Gorky’s anecdote about Lenin listening to
Beethoven’s Appassionata.  Gorky wrote:

‘I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen
to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes
me proud, perhaps naively so, to think that people can work such
miracles!” Wrinkling up his eyes, Lenin smiled rather sadly, adding:
“But I can’t listen to music very often. It affects my nerves. I want
to say sweet, silly things and pat the heads of people who, living in
a filthy hell, can create such beauty. One can’t pat anyone on the
head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. They ought to be beaten
on the head, beaten mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing
any violence to people. Hm — what a hellishly difficult job!’

Donnersmarck told a New York Times reporter: ‘I suddenly had this
image in my mind of a person sitting in a depressing room with
earphones on his head and listening in to what he supposes is the
enemy of the state and the enemy of his ideas, and what he is really
hearing is beautiful music that touches him. I sat down and in a
couple of hours had written the treatment.'”

THEME: Beauty tames/transforms the Beast, Art stronger than Ideology, Redemption

WINGS OF DESIRE

This movie was filmed before the fall of the wall.  A snapshot of Berlin seen through the eyes of immortals.  The story revolves around one angel who falls in love with one of the angels who falls in love with a mortal and wants to experience what it is to be human.  Yes, this movie was remade as City of Angels, starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan (pre-botox).  That movie has nothing to do with this film, other than the premise.  I warn you: do not see that movie.  See this one.

The script and cinematography are poetry.  And Peter Falk stars as himself.

THEME: Celebration of Life/Human Experience

GOODBYE, LENIN

Great idea for a story.  1989.  A employee who has given her life for the State, sees her son protesting against the regime and has a heart attack, slipping into a coma.  When she awakes in 1990, the GDR has fallen.  The doctors say that she needs to avoid any excitement or she may suffer further with her health so her son tries to recreate East Germany in her flat.

THEME: Nostalgia, Family, Letting go, Lying to protect the ones we love.

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