The Transcendent Nature of Sound in The Lives of Others Essay

1308 Words 6 Pages
The human ability to perceive sound is often taken for granted and is erroneously considered, by most, to be secondary in importance to sight. It is true that our primary understanding of the world develops through sight, but sound is responsible for our ability to communicate with one another through both concrete and abstract means, as well as for defining the nuances that shape our surroundings. Without sound, humans would be alienated in their own uncertainty; unable to express the fears and aspirations which are common to our condition. Sound has the unique ability to transcend boundaries, cultures, and ideologies through speech, music, and the noises which we distinguish categorically through memory and experience. It is this …show more content…
We then notice a shift in the student’s countenance and demeanor to reflect that of a scolded child who has come to recognize the folly of his ways. This scene also functions to develop the character of the professor, who has become hardened by propaganda and unapologetic regarding his actions and life choices.
The use of recorded sound and technological listening devices help us to understand the voyeuristic nature of Professor Hauptmann Gerd Wiestler, a Captain for the Stasi of East Germany. He is a lonely man and has sacrificed a more socially fulfilling life to serve the interests of his country. His only meaningful contact with other human beings is achieved by anonymously listening in to the happenings of other people’s lives. Through audio equipment, Wiestler becomes privy to the intimate complexities of relationships and how they are affected by the current political conditions which he helps to propagate. The film uses these props to create connections between characters that are separated by spatial boundaries. It allows the viewer and Wiestler to have an unrestricted perspective on the personal struggles of the writer Georg Dreyman.
The use of audio overlap allows the viewer to continue hearing the conversations of Dreyman and his friends, while at the same time staying focused on Wiestler’s reaction to what is being

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