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Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this is a first-rate thriller that, like Bertolucci's The Conformist and Coppola's The Conversation, opts for character development over car chases. The place is East Berlin, the year is 1984, and it all begins with a simple surveillance assignment: Capt. Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe in a restrained, yet deeply felt performance), a Stasi officer and a specialist in this kind of thing, has been assigned to keep an eye on Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch, Black Book), a respected playwright, and his actress girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck, Mostly Martha). Though Dreyman is known to associate with the occasional dissident, like blacklisted director Albert Jerska (Volkmar Kleinert), his record is spotless. Everything changes when Wiesler discovers that Minister Hempf (Thomas Thieme) has an ulterior motive in spying on this seemingly upright citizen. In other words, it's personal, and Wiesler's sympathies shift from the government to its people--or at least to this one particular person. That would be risky enough, but then Wiesler uses his privileged position to affect a change in Dreyman's life. The God-like move he makes may be minor and untraceable, but it will have major consequences for all concerned, including Wiesler himself. Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck starts with a simple premise that becomes more complicated and emotionally involving as his assured debut unfolds. Though three epilogues is, arguably, two too many, The Lives of Others is always elegant, never confusing. It's class with feeling. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Beyond The Lives of Others
Films from Germany
Other Cold War Films
More Arthouse Selections
from Sony Pictures Classics
The film story builds tensions at a perfect pace, increasing with every passing scene.
The story of "The Lives of Others" takes place in 1984 in East Berlin, when both Germanys were still separated by the wall as well as politics.
Simply put, if you want a glimpse of what it's like living in a Socialist state, watch this movie and you will get a good idea.
Excellent film about the change a man goes through as he listens to the lives of the artists who lead full lives. He is spying on them at the end of the divided Berlin era.. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Lela Joscelyn
Ship on time and in good condition. Russia is a very scary place....glad I don't live there...I learned allot.Published 20 days ago by Henry
I ordered this DVD because George Will said it was the best movie he'd ever seen. I liked it and it was thought provoking, but I have other favorites.Published 20 days ago by Geraldine Dahlquist
Stasi had profiles on different types of artists, workers, soldiers, public servants etc. They had whole catalogs. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Martin TI
This is one of the best films I've ever seen. Extraordinary acting, writing and direction. You will not regret purchasing this movie, you'll want to have this in your video... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nicole J.