The Lives of Others and 1984

I have added and extract from an interview with Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck that is on the Premiere site. In the interview he links his film to George Orwell’s 1984.

Kenny: One of the things that I found interesting about the character of Weisler, the spy played by Muhe, is that he seems to be almost a Winston Smith in reverse, you know, he begins by loving Big Brother as it were and being a very true believer. And then when he’s exposed both to the hypocrisy of his colleagues and also to the humanity of the people he’s sort of been put under orders to ruin, his humanity starts to emerge.

Von Donnersmarck: Because the movie is set in 1984 and goes on into ’85, I thought I was going to call the film 1985 and–but then when I told people that idea, people didn’t catch on to the thing that this means, you know—1984 plus 1. Like taking it one step further, because in a way that’s what the GDR was. It was the Orwellian state taken to a weird level of reality. I remember in that year, 1984, I lived in Berlin and we were in the East a lot, because my mother is from there, and when we traveled there I always thought, this is it, you know, this is what Orwell has been describing; so I wasn’t necessarily thinking of the character but sure, that kind of atmosphere is definitely there.

Read more here.


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