This article reads von Donnersmarck’s film Das Leben der Anderen in the light of Kafka’s story Die Verwandlung, suggesting that the works bear a striking and as yet unnoticed similarity on the level of story, while diverging significantly in terms of plot. The aim of the comparison is to explore notable aspects of this similarity through the presentations of space, sensual experience and spectator complicity, while raising wider points about the functions and capabilities of different media. I propose the concept of erlebtes Zeigen in my reading of Das Leben der Anderen as a contrast to Kafka’s use of erlebte Rede. I question just how it is that such a similar story may be told to such different effect.
The Transformation of the Lives of Others: Space, Sensuality and Spectator Complicity in Kafka’s Die Verwandlung and von Donnersmarck’s Das Leben der Anderen.
In: Forum for Modern Language Studies 54, 4 (Oct 2018), pp. 481–503.