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Gender in The Lives of Others: Postscript

Here’s an interesting thing. I dreamed last night that I was in the world of The Lives of Others, but in the dream (in which I was an invisible presence) the playwright with the dangerous activist friends was a woman; the actor in her company was a man, her lover, insecure about his artistic worth and his career. That would have been quite a different movie, much more “edgy” and surprising. I don’t suppose I should fault the creator of the film for missing this…. But I’m sorry he did. I see that once again, a gifted German man, like Hesse, has created a work of genius, but he missed out on the opportunity to envision a woman as a co-hero or co-protagonist. The other main character in the film, Muehe, was still a man, in my dream–and I think for the film to work it’s better for him to remain a man. My dream-maker has more intelligence than I do. So do see this film. And then imagine the gender of the two artist characters reversed, and see how that feels.

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