Sunday, May 20, 2012
As much research as I do for all of my books, I try to steer clear of any art (pure art, pure story) that might influence my storytelling until my own book is settled into place. With my Berlin novel now in the compassionate hands of Tamra Tuller at Philomel, I feel less constrained, more able to watch or read work set in the same zones of time and place. Last night, at my friend Annika's urging, I watched "The Lives of Others," a film that had been on my radar screen for quite some time.
The film is, as Annika had promised, compelling and necessary—an intense, provocative, ultimately beautiful look at the compressed lives of artists in Stasi-dominated East Berlin, beginning in 1984. Heroes and anti-heroes abound. The loveliness of the film, the heartbreaking part, is how rarely the characters conform to stereotype.