Christa-Maria tells Wiesler that he is a good man. Jerska gives Dreymann Sonata for a Good Man. Dreymann dedicates Sonata for a Good Man to Wiesler. What is "a good man" in The Lives of Others? Was it possible to be a good man in East Berlin? Do we need a different language/vocabulary to describe these men? Does this film have a hero? Was it possible to be heroic in East Berlin?
Does art have the power to make us good people? The director offers us plenty of evidence that artists are more sensitive, more compassionate, more empathetic. But he also offers us plenty of evidence that art does not make us better people. Before the Second World War, Germans were considered the most cultured people on the planet. Why are people who worship art capable of barbaric behavior? Why do we study art? Does it have the power to change us? Is Hempf correct? Are people incapable of change?
Why is Martina Gedeck given the name Christa-Maria? Why is her code name, Marta? Does the film have a religious dimension?
Why does Wiesler attempt to help Dreymann? Is he in love with Dreymann? Is he in love with Christa? Does Christa need to be sacrificed for the sake of Dreymann?
This is Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's first film. It is an homage to many, many classic films he has loved -- It's a Wonderful Life, Casablanca, The Third Man, The Red Shoes, Rome: Open City, Fahrenheit 451, etc. What does this film have to say about film? Do you see the director making reference to any films you have seen?
1 out of every 6 people in East Germany worked for the Stasi in some capacity. People knew that they could not necessarily trust their parents, siblings, children, friends. Do we have the ability to understand what such lack of privacy would mean? Do we need to alter our expectations of each of the characters in this film when we consider this statistic? We are raised in this country to believe that we have choices. Do any of the people in this movie have choices?