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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
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from Sony Pictures Classics
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.
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.
His face is so expressive that its very stillness is powerful (and never more so than in the film's final and very satisfying moment).
Excellent service. Will buy from again. Very satisfied. ThanksPublished 3 days ago by Hunter Grant Edrington
I had to watch this movie for a class I am taking. Nice movie, but takes patience, because it is nearly 3 hours.Published 9 days ago by KPO
A wonderful look into the Stasi and the DDR in general. HIGHLY recommend to anyone interested in East Germany or German Film in general!Published 10 days ago by ryanmd12
I cannot provide a rating as to the quality I'd the film, as I do not have a Blue Ray DVD Player. I attempted to cancel the order on two separate occasions but was unsuccessful. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Richard Selby
Powerful movie, accurately representing regime which shaped, for better or worse, so many lives.
This is a must see for anyone interested in politics, but also for anyone who... Read more
Excellent movie. Wonderful, surprising plot. On of the best contemporary movies that I have seen.Published 16 days ago by M. Martin
If you are a North American (like me) and want to see how Orwell's 1984 would realistically work in late 20th century Europe, watch this movie. It is brilliant. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Diefenbaker the dog