Deutschland 83

I’m sort of hooked – mainly out of my perennial weakness for the narrative pull. But you do have to suspend disbelief: for a sensitive and caring young man, Martin/Moritz is a bit of a psychopath, and for an increasingly resourceful spy, he’s a bit of a softie. Characters barely stretch to two-dimensional: the idealistic daughter, the conflicted son, the implacable aunt. But it’s well-filmed and moves so fast that . . . yes, I’m sort of hooked.

Very different pacing from the “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” adaptation from the 1970s or whenever. When you watched it only on television, you had to take in everything AND follow the plot during those 50 minutes. “Catch up” involved asking someone what had happened. Today you can watch programmes on DVD and analyse scenes in the same way that you would a paragraph of Dickens. I guess that’s partly why “Deutschland 83” looks so good: the expense of the boxed set is justified by the opportunity to scrutinise a recreation of Ossi interior decoration.

I feel somewhat ancient and retrospectively naïve when I consider that I lived through this era. 1983 was probably the dullest year of my life (so far) and I day-dreamed my way through it with only the barest glance at the Thatcher-Reagan “Gone with the wind” poster.

With my finger on the pulse today, though, I can report that I came over all Cassandra-ish earlier while listening to the radio. Biggest ever recorded snowstorm in the USA over the past few days. Snow stops, sun comes out, and there was a report from a gleeful man who had snow-ski-ed through Times Square behind an enormous jeep. And people cheered him on. Climate change, anyone? (Honestly – it’s not a preoccupation of mine.)

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