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Quotations from Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)

The Lives of Others is a 2006 German drama thriller film with the original title "Das Leben der Anderen". The film follows the lives of agents from the Stansi, the German Democratic Republic's secret police, as they monitor the cultural scene of East Berlin. The film is set in 1984, right after Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler is assigned to spy on playwright Georg Dreyman and his girlfriend. However, he soon realizes that he isn't spying on Dreyman for his communist views, but because the girlfriend is doing sexual favors for the Party's Minister of Culture in order to get drugs. Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Starring Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, and Ulrich Tukur.

The Lives of Others won the Oscar award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. It also had amazing reviews and great financial success at the box office. Continue reading for some quotes from The Lives of Others.


Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler: An innocent prisoner will become more angry by the hour due to the injustice suffered. He will shout and rage. A guilty prisoner becomes more calm and quiet. Or he cries. He knows he's there for a reason. The best way to establish guilt or innocence is non-stop interrogation.
Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz: I have to show you something: "Prison Conditions for Subversive Artists: Based on Character Profile". Pretty scientific, eh? And look at this: "Dissertation Supervisor, A. Grubitz". That's great, isn't it? I only gave him a B. They shouldn't think getting a doctorate with me is easy. But his is first-class. Did you know that there are just five types of artists? Your guy, Dreyman, is a Type 4, a "hysterical anthropocentrist." Can't bear being alone, always talking, needing friends. That type should never be brought to trial. They thrive on that. Temporary detention is the best way to deal with them. Complete isolation and no set release date. No human contact the whole time, not even with the guards. Good treatment, no harassment, no abuse, no scandals, nothing they could write about later. After 10 months, we release. Suddenly, that guy won't cause us any more trouble. Know what the best part is? Most type 4s we've processed in this way never write anything again. Or paint anything, or whatever artists do. And that without any use of force. Just like that. Kind of like a present.
Buchverkäufer: 29.80. Would you like it gift wrapped?
Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler: No. It's for me.
Georg Dreyman: The state office for statistics on Hans-Beimler street counts everything; knows everything: how many pairs of shoes I buy a year: 2.3, how many books I read a year: 3.2 and how many students graduate with perfect marks: 6,347. But there's one statistic that isn't collected there, perhaps because such numbers cause even paper-pushers pain: and that is the suicide rate.
[Wiesler enters the elevator at his apartment building. A young boy with a ball joins him]
Junge mit Ball: Are you really with the Stasi?
Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler: Do you even know what the Stasi is?
Junge mit Ball: Yes. They're bad men who put people in prison, says my dad.
Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler: I see. What is the name of your...
[pauses]
Junge mit Ball: My what?
Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler: [thinks for a few more seconds] Ball. What's the name of your ball?
Junge mit Ball: You're funny. Balls don't have names.
Next: The Longshots
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