Mr B has worked for twenty years as a public servant “in service of the people”. Out of love. An unconditional and absolute love for “his people”. A blind and destructive love. When the times change and the regime he adheres to is defeated, he becomes a social reject and life as he has always known it falls apart. Fired from his job, his “House”, Mr B. is left with nothing, no perspective, no future. He sits alone in this office which is no longer his. Once he walks out that door, he will never come back.
In February 1990, a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Ministry for State Security of the GDR is dismantled. This marks the end of the “Stasi”, the East German secret police. Major B. was a Stasi officer. Relieved of his duties, he delivers a detailed account of twenty years of his life and work within this institution.
Aus Liebe zum Volk is based on this extraordinary personal testimony, supported by never seen before archive footage. This is a film about surveillance and blindness, about faith and disillusion.
« Ce qui stupéfie, dans cette longue confession de M. B., officier de la Stasi pendant deux décennies, c’est qu’il n’a toujours rien compris. Prétendre avoir voulu faire le bonheur du peuple sans lui, voire contre lui, passe encore : c’est l’ambition qu’affichent tous les régimes totalitaires. Mais, quinze ans après la chute du mur de Berlin, il en reste convaincu : « Le socialisme l’aurait emporté si nos services avaient été plus actifs. » Actifs, les « soldats du front invisible » – 20 000 agents et 500 000 collaborateurs – ne l’étaient que trop, comme on le voit dans Pour l’amour du peuple. Maniaques du montage, le cinéaste israélien Eyal Sivan et la monteuse Audrey Marion ont passé neuf mois à peaufiner les 88 minutes de leur film, pour rendre éclatante la contradiction entre images et mots : d’un côté, le sale boulot des fonctionnaires de basse police (perquisitions illégales, arrestations, répression de manifestations pacifiques, etc.) ; de l’autre, le discours caricatural de leur bonne conscience. »
“The picture we get of the Stasi is not so much that of an instrument of terror and torture (like the Gestapo), than that of a bureaucratic surveillance instrument, trying to know everything about everyone at every time and, as the events in 1990 show, ultimately failing to do so. The people storming the Stasi headquarters expected to find a computer at every desk, but were merely confronted with huge amounts of paper and cardfiles (as S. puts it, the western security services were probably able to watch more citizens with less effort). S. was brought up in a socialist context and defends the system to the end, although he explains surprisingly little about what this socialist state was supposed to bring about. The only thing we can safely conclude is, that to S. it meant stability and security of the citizens even if it had to come at the expense of liberty, the freedom to move around, shout it out loud or rebel in general. S.’s idea of safety encompasses mediocrity and ultimate boredom, pretty much the reputation the DDR got itself. He speaks of political dissidents as ‘agitators’ in the same calm way a perfectly democratic English police officer would of a bunch of autonome punkers. He defends Stasi's sneaking into other people's homes without a warrant (in violation of even the DDR’s constitution) with reference to all other known secret services doing the same. After all, they're all in the business of maintaining the status quo. By any means.”