For reasons best left at the foot of my chosen career, I was not able to see "The Lives of Others" when it came out - though from what I read about it made it look like something I would want to see. This review and discussion by Jay Nordlinger in National Review seals it - I will buy it for my library if for no other reason than for the man almost solely responsible for it, the writer and directory Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck.
What about Donnersmarck’s politics? He is clear and direct: “I want the government to stay as far out of my life as humanly possible.” . . .His story on how he he made the move is almost important as the movie itself. Everyone said, no - and he did it anyway. A great tragedy for the acting profession - and us all - is the early death of the lead actor, Ulrich Mühe, a man who knew the evil of East Germany well.
He has a frustration shared by many: the success of socialists in portraying the Nazis as diametrically opposite them. He says that people ought to be reminded that socialism was part of the Nazis’ very name. He is against any system that forbids the individual to live his life to the full. And he is determined that Communism, in Europe and elsewhere, will not be perfumed.
“We must make sure to remember that it was a nightmare, because, as we know, ideologies do make cyclical reappearances. It’s incredibly important that we don’t allow people to romanticize Communism, and that we call it what it is: an anti-man religion, completely contrary to freedom.” . . .
He is brimming with opinions, and I ask him about the United States. Donnersmarck says, in the course of his remarks, “I really, really hope that America will not make the mistake that has so weakened Europe: looking toward the government for answers to all problems. I hope that America will continue to respect the principle of subsidiarity, which is to say: The state should do only what the individual truly cannot do on his own” — and even then, the government that acts should be the most local government possible.