This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
The Lives of Others
Before the Fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany's Secret Police Listened to Your Secrets.
A tragic love story set in East Berlin with the backdrop of an undercover Stasi controlled culture. Stasi captain Wieler is ordered to follow author Dreyman and plunges deeper and deeper into his life until he reaches the threshold of doubting the system.
Remake idea: The Lives of Otters. Same film but the cast are otters.
"An innocent prisoner will become more angry by the hour due to the injustice suffered. He will shout and rage. A guilty prisoner becomes more calm and quiet. Or he cries. He knows he's there for a reason. The best way to establish guilt or innocence is non-stop interrogation."
The 2007 winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film is the German thriller The Lives of Others directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. The film follows the professional and private life of Gerd Wiesler an agent for the East German security service, who becomes too involved with his subjects during a surveillance operation. His mission is eventually complicated because of his obsession with the subject's lives, which leads him…
Whilst watching this film I cannot get around the incredible display of film-making skills on display here. Everything is handled with such attention to detail and respect it is simply awe inspiring.
Now it is too easy to attribute this to the Deutsche Gründlichkeit (the German knack for detail and thoroughness), so I won't and I'll say that the strength here stems from respect. Respect for a troubled period in a nation's history.
It is a no-holds barred account of a time where art, freedom and individuality were seen as criminal. And within this all we see the change of one man, a man who listens, spies and judges. The life he has and the life he eventually wants are…
Damn, what a way to start this challenge.
The Lives of Others is a slow burn political thriller/drama that takes place in Germany during the time of the Berlin Wall. A country was divided by harsh political ideals and strictly governed people. Inside the highly restricted East Germany we are introduced to a playwright and his starlet girlfriend. The man and woman are the artistic and intellectual type. They are loyal communists but they begin to question the growing hostility of the government and they start to show that they might not fully agree with the system they are a part of. They question their system yet…
Winner of Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, The Lives of Others has a very serene ambience when compared to other entries in the spy genre which are usually filled with chases, action or violence for this German drama tries to paint an authentic portrait of life in East Germany and is a silent observation of human nature.
Set in 1980s East Germany, the story of The Lives of Others (also known as Das Leben der Anderen) focuses on the monitoring of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi; the secret police, and concerns an agent who's tasked to conduct a surveillance on a writer & his lover, but over the course of his duty ends up becoming too infatuated…
The Lives of Others is a masterfully plotted historical and fictional drama that never bores its audience with mediocre side plots that add nothing of substance. Instead, it intricately examines a Stasi investigator's own humanity, and suggests some rays of hope still shone on their own in the dark recesses of East Berlin. Hauptmann Wiesler is assigned to eavesdrop on a suspected opposer of the state's political party, yet he slowly shows more and more humanistic tendencies, and forms a strange protective fascination of this couple's lives. Like Valkyrie displayed an uprising within a gestating dictatorship, Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck genuinely displays a social revolution in the making. Berlin is still separated by the Wall, but Germany's finest minds…
A masterpiece of a film. A psychological thriller set behind the Iron Curtain - a government spy and his obsession with the artists he spies on. Splendid acting, shocking to think it is real...
Loved every minute of this. Stasi surveillance, paranoia, detailed tradecraft, characters who are human in every moment, and patience. No side plots, no sudden twists. Just watch what unfolds here, see what it does to these people. Brilliantly subtle score, production design, and photography that saturate every frame with 1980s-East-Germany materials and melancholy. Flawless filmmaking.
These films aren't really made for me (i.e. ones that last longer than 80 minutes), but a solid entry in the political intrigue genre.
A film that's not afraid of a bit of melodrama. There's a sweeping orchestral score, plenty of emotional confrontations, and even a bit of crying. But the film earns these. Sentimental without being sappy.
This is largely because of the central performance from Ulrich Mühe, who is (deservedly) best known for this film. Most of the film's subtlety and depth comes from his character, a stone-faced serious man who maybe has some life underneath.
As a surveillance movie, The Lives of Others delivers. There are plenty of compelling cat-and-mouse sequences in which expectations are twisted and surprises delivered. That this film is able to be simultaneously thrilling, heartbreaking, and, truthfully, fun is a testament to its high quality. A rare sort of film.
I got lucky and was able to see a screening of this at the New Beverly. One of my all time favorites. A tragic, inspiring, and thoughtful story that connects the themes of art and politics seamlessly. Easily one of the best films since 2000.
"Is there no way I can save myself?"
Second watch for this thoughtful German film, which depicts the work of the Stasi (secret police of East Germany) who listened to communications and spied on their citizens.
I visited Berlin a couple of years ago and despite the fact that it had been a quarter of a century since the Wall came down, felt the sadness of it still lingered in the place. The section of the city which once stood in the East still has that feeling of being unfinished and frugal, and I can well believe that the culture was the way it is depicted in this film.
Ulrich Mühe, who died within a year of making this, was…
I’m always entranced by the opening sequence in this film. We see Captain Wiesler, in a very methodical and practiced tone, as he interrogates an East German prisoner. It’s a battle of wits as he relentlessly digs deeper, and deeper, and deeper into his conscience, carefully documenting his every move. This war of the minds goes on for hours and the prisoner yields, almost as if just confessing just to make the mental torment stop. Then brilliantly, it intercuts to him teaching a classroom full of children these exact same techniques used in a different context. As far as a screenplay standpoint this is such a clever way to introduce us to this character and give us a strong first…
Incredible story free of political hate. Love the characters. Love the script. Love the actors. Amazing piece of art!
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