The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)
Release Year: 2006
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Writer: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Starring: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme, Hans-Uwe Bauer, Volkmar Kleinert, Matthias Brenner, Charly Hübner, Herbert Knaup
Rating: Won 1 Oscar: Best Foreign Language Film. Nominated for 1 Golden Globe: Best Foreign Language Film.
In 1984 in East Berlin, a Stasi agent is tasked with surveilling a playwright and his girlfriend, and finds himself increasingly absorbed by their lives.
This 2006 German Oscar winner is quickly becoming a contemporary classic and is surely the sort of film we will still remember and appreciate 50 years fro now. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (Werk ohne Autor, 2018) both scripted and directed this highly impressive feature film début, dealing with a sore subject for Germans. There are many films portrying authoritarian regimes, but few does it is such a subtle yet sinister way. Our main character, Stasi agent Wiesler, played superbly by the late Ulrich Mühe (Schneeland, 2005), seems like a decent guy, yet works to preserve an unjust form of government from its own citizens and does so relentlessly and with much skill. His boss and old school buddy is eager to climb the career ladder and when the unappealling minister for culture wants him to dig up dirt on a very popular playwright, Wiesler happily takes the job as an opportunity to do what he does best. The playwright, played by Sebastian Koch (Au nom de ma fille, 2016) soon intrigues him and the story that unfolds from here is both engrossing and ultimately moving. A wonderful film about a gloomy subject with great performances. Highly recommended!
All the listening and recording equipment used in the film was original Stasi equipment on loan from museums. The props master had himself spent two years in a Stasi prison and insisted on as much authenticity as possible.
Picture Copyright: Sandrew Metronome