Sunday, August 26, 2007

Required Film

For all the Cold War students out there who wonder what the big deal was about the Soviet Union and system, you need to get a film called "The Lives of Others". It's about the secret police and its obsessive hunt for free thinking and non-conformism among the citizenry--the Soviet Union pioneered it, then exported it to all its satellites, so that you had not only the KGB(USSR), but the AVH(Hungary), Securitate(Romania), and Stasi in the GDR, the German Democratic Republic. It gives you a concrete idea of what a nightmare the "revolution" became in the post-l945 years, particularly in the GDR, the state where the "workers' paradise" failed so disastrously that authorities had to build a wall to keep people IN, then TEAR DOWN the wall, STILL to keep them from leaving. Neither solution worked in the end, but a lot of people lived miserable lives in the meantime.

It will also make your skin crawl, as you imagine yourself the target of a comprehensive bugging of your house and the victim of round-the-clock listening to/monitoring of all your comings and goings, all your conversations, all your visitors, everything. That's what life was like for lots of people there, in fact throughout the Soviet sphere of influence.

The film comes highly recommended--it won the Academy Award for best foreign language film--so drop everything and go get it.


german said...

yes and stasi could be in the classroom and if you asked too many questions you could be in trouble. free thinking was not availible

jodmeister said...

Another great movie must see is now out on DVD and is available on Net Flix. See my entry on this blog on June 18th for The Wind that Shakes the Barley. This is an excellent story set in WWI Ireland.

Awesome, awesome, awesome! I won't give anything away however if you know the history of Ireland, you know there will be no happy ending.