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Abstract

The notion of authenticity seems to have grown more and more important for artistic documents during the last decades. Critics are using the term as a kind of distinction; an authentic novel or film is a good novel or film. Authenticity in these cases does not mean questioning the novel or film as an original work of art; rather, what is meant by authenticity is the relationship between reality and the content of a novel or film, assuming possible mimesis in terms of a mirror-like relationship. The highly acclaimed and award-winning film Das Leben der Anderen (The lives of others) can be considered one of the most successful recent German films about the GDR. Many critics focused on the film’s authenticity and thus the film’s truthful representation of life in the GDR.

In this paper I would like to claim that this happens because of how the producers are using elements of the paratext in convincing us that what we watch is real, is authentic. By focusing on aspects like the producer’s research, the personal experience and memory of producer and actors, and last but not least the approval by leading intellectuals and political institutions, the message of authenticity is broadcasted in an effective way.

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