Chilling reminder of the essence of Eastern Bloc tyranny 10/10
“A great socialist once said, writers
are engineers of the soul.”
The Lives of Others (Leben der Anderen, Das) won last year’s (2006) Oscar for best foreign-language film. Deservedly so, and I regret I have only just this week have managed to view the DVD.
It is set in Berlin, East Germany (GDR) roughly five years before the collapse of The Wall, a period when few ordinary residents of that glorious communist paradise imagined they would ever be free of its soul-deadening, omnipresent yoke.
An aspiring Stasi (East German secret police) true believer in the supremely ordered perfection of this grandiose yet drab insane asylum, Herr Hauptmann Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) wants to do the right thing. Wiesler is a poor imitation of Andre Taganov in Ayn Rand’s We the Living: he believes in his heart socialism can work. By rooting out defectors, enablers of defectors, and sundry critics of the ideal society, he’s doing “the Lord’s business”—the lord of regimented collectivism. Continue reading
… and the world she made (2009)
by Anne C. Heller
Well executed book on an iconic figure by Ms. Heller, who certainly wasn’t an insider with the ‘Objectivist movement’ or blown away by Rand’s work—Heller bestows no glowing accolades on Ayn Rand or her achievements, yet respectfully reports on them with a discernible general sympathy. I find the author’s objectivity valuable, yet necessarily giving an incomplete Gestalt of ‘Who is Ayn Rand.’ Heller is too young to have experienced the rush that Rand’s passionate articulation of heroic individualism provided, mainly, in Baby Boomer prime time (late 1950s into the early 1970s)—with The Fountainhead (1943, movie 1949) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), then the nonfictional politics oriented writings from Rand and her coterie. Continue reading
The complete picture, esp. the humanity _ 9/10
Review by Brian Wright
Barbara Branden: On March 8, 1982, a line formed outside a funeral parlor in New York City. I stood there in the cold with hundreds of people waiting to say goodbye to an old woman few of them had ever met. Yet most of those people would have said she changed their lives. I had been her closest friend, and she mine. But all of that ended a long time ago.
The critics had called her a leader of a cult, a dangerous threat to public morality. Her name was Ayn Rand, and I loved her. Continue reading